No cases of malaria in Iran since March 2018

July 28, 2019 - 19:25

TEHRAN – There have been no cases of malaria reported in Iran since the past Iranian calendar year 1397 (started March 2018) until the third month of the current year (ended July 22), Ahmad Raeisi, head of the health ministry’s malaria control and prevention bureau, has said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.

The number of malaria cases decreased from 57 in the Iranian calendar year 1396 (March 2017 – March 2018) to zero in the past year, Raeisi noted.

“About 60 years ago, malaria was considered as the main cause of death in Iran,” he said, adding, “Malaria is mostly seen in deprived and underdeveloped regions.”

Due to vastness and climate diversity in Iran, the eradication of some diseases is hard, he said.

Iran is bordering with Afghanistan and Pakistan and is in contact with some countries like Bangladesh and India, in which malaria is prevailing. This issue makes control of the disease harder, he explained.

“About 90 percent of malaria cases in Iran are originated from eastern neighboring countries and the most cases of malaria are reported in Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan and Kerman provinces.”

He said that the health ministry has prepared a national document to eradicate malaria by the Iranian calendar year 1404 (March 2025-March 2026).

Key facts about Malaria

According to WHO, in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017.

The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2017, the region was home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths.

Total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 3.1 billion in 2017. Contributions from governments of endemic countries amounted to US$ 900 million, representing 28% of total funding.

Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across the community.

WHO recommends protection for all people at risk of malaria with effective malaria vector control. Two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying – are effective in a wide range of circumstances.

SB/MG

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