Shrinking the Malaria Map

UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI)

Cape Verde

Cape Verde reported just seven cases of local malaria transmission in 2015 and is on track to meet its goal of malaria elimination by 2020.

Cape Verde is a 10-island archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 600 kilometers from the coast of Senegal. Nine of its ten islands are inhabited. The country reduced its malaria burden from 129 malaria cases in 2000 to just seven local cases in 2015. Only 14 malaria-attributable deaths have been recorded since 2000. In 2015, 100% of malaria cases in Cape Verde were due to Plasmodium falciparum. While P. vivax transmission is possible in Cape Verde, no cases have been reported since 1994.

Only two islands, Santiago and Boa Vista, have indigenous malaria transmission as well as vectorial capacity; the majority of cases, both in recent years and historically, have occurred on Santiago, where about half of the country’s population resides. Fogo, Maio, Santo Antao, Sao Nicolau, and Sao Vicente islands have the Anopheles vector but lack indigenous transmission, and Sal and Brava islands lack both vectorial capacity and transmission. Transmission is unstable in Cape Verde; the wet season from July-November is characterized by short, irregular rainfall and malaria incidence tends to peak between September and November. Because overall endemicity and transmission in the archipelago has been low for decades, there is no acquired population immunity and all age groups are affected when outbreaks occur.

As Cape Verde reoriented its programmatic focus from malaria control to elimination in 2007, effective case management, epidemic responsiveness, and the use of focal interventions emerged as vital components to its malaria strategy. The country implemented its pre-elimination strategic plan beginning in 2009, and after a comprehensive review of the malaria program’s successes and challenges in 2013, released a National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2014-2017.The new strategy centers on building institutional capacity for elimination, strengthening surveillance, ensuring proper management of all malaria cases, and improving community awareness, sanitation, and environmental health, with an ultimate goal of malaria elimination by 2020.

7 # of cases (2015)
Elimination goal
Lower middle
Income level
Reported cases
Reported cases
P falciparum transmission limit (2010)
P falciparum transmission limit (2010)

Challenges to elimination