São Tomé and Príncipe: São Tomé and Principe Celebrated the World Malaria Day

press release

The country is highly committed to reach the malaria elimination goal by 2030

On April 25, the amphitheater of the University of São Tomé and Príncipe hosted the international conference commemorating World Malaria Day. The high-level event was honored by the presence of the Minister of the Presidency and Council of Ministers, Parliamentary Affairs and Sustainable Coordination, Lúcio Magalhães, the Minister of Health and Women's Rights, Ângela Costa, the WHO Resident Representative, Françoise Bigirimana, as well as the Ambassador of the Popular Republic of China, the Rector of the University of Sao Tome and Principe, representatives of the Cape Verde connected online, and many partners, professionals, civil society and students.

São Tomé and Príncipe is part of the WHO's E2025 global initiative, which aims to eliminate malaria in 25 countries by 2025. According to the epidemiological data recorded over the last three years, the country has seen an increase in cases, a situation that compromised the goal of elimination by 2025.

However, the country is committed to eliminate malaria learning from the experience of Cape Verde, a country that has received WHO certification as a malaria-free country in January 2024.

According to the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination, the District of Caué and the Autonomous Region of Príncipe are expected to eliminate malaria by 2027 and become a country malaria-free by 2030 as said the Minister of Health and Women's Rights, Ângela Costa.

In fact, Sao Tome and Principe has a number of good practices in malaria program for example it has not registered a single case of death caused by malaria since 2022 up to now. This demonstrates the capacity and successful malaria case management in the country.

However, the concern is about the increasing number of the past three years.

In 2021 the country registered 2,719 cases of malaria, 3,970 in 2022, and 2,348 new cases in 2023, and 2024, from up to april the country has already registered 1,700 new cases.

Among key challenges the surveillance system remains weak and the national coverage of indoor spraying is below the national target of 80% in many districts such as Água Grande, with 58%, Lembá with 62%, Mé-zochi with 66%.

It is in this context that the World Health Organization in São Tomé and Príncipe in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is intensifying its technical support to strengthen vector control, malaria surveillance system, conduct assessment related to population's behavior towards malaria interventions and therapeutic efficacy of the drugs used to treat malaria.

Malaria has major implications and costs to the health sector and has a negative impact on the country's tourist attractiveness and economy of the country.

According to the World Malaria Report, people living in the most vulnerable situations, pregnant women, children under 5, refugees, migrants and displaced people, among others, continue to be disproportionately affected. Climate change and humanitarian emergencies, including natural disasters and conflicts within countries, make populations more vulnerable to the disease and hinder progress and development.

Globally in 2022, more than 249 million cases of malaria and 608,000 deaths were recorded worldwide. The African region represented 85% of malaria deaths globally and had the 20 top countries with the highest burden of malaria in the world.

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