04/11 17:37

Kyrgyzstan receives WHO certification of malaria elimination

Bishkek, November 4 / Kabar /. Today, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan received the official WHO certification of malaria elimination. Globally, a total of 32 countries and territories have received this WHO certification, including 19 countries in the European Region.

Malaria was eliminated in Kyrgyzstan in 1961 through large-scale campaigns. But after maintaining a malaria-free status for more than 25 years, the country reported several imported cases of the disease, mainly from Afghanistan. By 1986, local transmission of the disease had again taken root.

In the early 1990s, as Kyrgyzstan transitioned to independence from the Soviet Union, the opening of borders facilitated the free movement of citizens, including visitors from malaria-endemic countries. A financial collapse led to steep cuts in funding for the national health system. Weak malaria surveillance and an acute shortage of anti-malaria drugs and insecticides created favourable conditions for disease transmission.

In 2002, Kyrgyzstan faced a major malaria epidemic following a massive influx of Kyrgyz labourers returning from neighbouring malaria-endemic countries. More than 2700 cases of P. vivax malaria were reported that year alone.

Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Health led a targeted effort to quell the epidemic, with technical and financial support from WHO, the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Medical Emergency Relief International (MERLIN) and other development partners.

By 2003, the country had achieved a sharp reduction in malaria cases. The epidemic was swiftly contained through a number of anti-malarial interventions. National surveillance systems for detecting and investigating malaria cases were strengthened. Confirmed cases were treated promptly, preventing onward transmission of the disease.

Key vector control measures were expanded, such as indoor residual spraying and the use of larvicides, especially in rice fields. Community engagement in malaria control and prevention contributed to this success, as did improved inter-sectoral and cross-border collaboration.

By 2010, Kyrgyzstan reported just three locally-acquired cases of mosquito-borne malaria transmission and, in 2011, zero indigenous cases. Kyrgyzstan started the elimination certification process in 2013.

The Government of Kyrgyzstan has established a comprehensive and adequately funded plan of action to guard against the reintroduction of malaria transmission through 2018 and beyond.



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