Shrinking the Malaria Map

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

Kyrgyzstan certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization

04 November 2016

Today Kyrgyzstan received WHO’s malaria-free certification, after having reported zero cases of local malaria transmission since 2011. Kyrgyzstan began the WHO certification process in 2013, a voluntary process that 19 countries in the European Region have successfully completed. The WHO elimination certification is granted to countries after they have achieved at least three years of zero local malaria cases. Kyrgyzstan’s malaria-free certification follows the April 2016 WHO announcement that the European region had become the first WHO region in the world to be malaria-free. In 2015, all 53 countries in the European region achieved at least one year of zero local malaria cases.

Kyrgyzstan previously eliminated malaria in 1959 and remained malaria-free through the mid-1980s, until the disease was reintroduced in 1986 as a result of infected soldiers returning from war in Afghanistan. After a decade of containing mostly imported cases, the first verifiable local case of malaria was reported in 1996. By 2002, malaria cases numbered more than 2,700. With support from the Global Fund and other partners, and through the use of selective vector control measures and prompt treatment of confirmed cases, Kyrgyzstan swiftly brought down malaria cases. In 2011, Kyrgyzstan reported zero local cases of malaria.

According to the WHO, the Europe region’s malaria-free achievement was made possible through a combination of strong political commitment, heightened detection and surveillance of malaria cases, integrated strategies for mosquito control with community involvement, cross-border collaboration, and effective communication to people at risk for malaria.