Fifteen years ago, malaria affected approximately 2,000 people in Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica has reported no autochthonous cases of the disease since 2013 and has achieved a 100% decrease in malaria cases since 2000. For these achievements, Costa Rica, along with El Salvador and Suriname, has been named a winner of the Malaria Champions Award given by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) - the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO)
Costa Rica achieved its success through the implementation of its National Plan to Eliminate Malaria, which includes supervised treatment and home visits by Basic Comprehensive Care Teams (EBAIS) who visit local communities on horseback, motorcycle, boat or on foot. EBAIS network of 126 laboratories and integration of malaria in the health care network quickly identify and prevent disease outbreaks.
Assistant director of PAHO, Franscisco Becerra, says that advances in Costa Rica and in the other award winning countries, "asserts further our belief that we can effectively eliminate malaria in several areas (in the region) in the coming years."
Costa Rica received a prize of $2,500 to encourage their efforts against malaria. All winners received a plaque of appreciation. In addition, videos on each of these best practices will be disseminated at regional level. The prizes have been awarded for the past eight years.
As part of a panel of experts organized by PAHO and its partners in Washington to celebrate Malaria Day in the Americas, Admiral Timothy Ziemer, global coordinator for the President’s Malaria Initiative, said that investment to control malaria is a smart decision because it protects health, promotes development, and benefits all sectors of society.
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, the Center for Communication Programs, Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins and the United Nations Foundation, are partners of PAHO / WHO in these initiatives.
Washington, DC, November 3, 2016 (PAHO/WHO)