The Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) has welcomed with enthusiasm the World Health Organization's announcement that the European Region is, for the first time, malaria free. Through a press release this morning, the WHO regional office for Europe announced that in 2015 there were no registered indigenous cases of malaria in the region, where the number of cases has dropped from over 90,000 to zero in two decades.
"This is an unprecedented milestone and demonstrates that, with enough political will and the appropriate technical approaches and resources, it is possible to end a disease that has accompanied us forever" says Antoni Plasència, director of ISGlobal.
“It is an achievement that underlines the importance of addressing elimination from a regional perspective”, adds Regina Rabinovich, director of the Malaria Elimination Initiative at ISGlobal. "Europe must now concentrate its efforts in preventing disease reintroduction, as has already happened in the past in some countries. This risk will only disappear when malaria will be finally wiped out from the rest of the world, in other words, when we achieve global eradication" she added.
ISGlobal, with the support of the "la Caixa" Foundation, is working to contribute to the global goal of malaria eradication, in particular through the MALTEM project in Mozambique, as well as in the Americas that, after Europe’s success, is the next region closest to reaching elimination.