Swaziland: Set to Eliminate Malaria

I’m another new addition to the policy team here at ONE, and will be sharing updates on global health and human development with you here on the ONE Blog. As my first post, I wanted to share some great news: According to health experts, Swaziland is poised to eliminate malaria. This would make Swaziland the second country in the “Southern African Development Community” (SADC) to eliminate malaria. (Mauritius was the first, with its last case of reported malaria in 1997.)

Swaziland has successfully reduced malaria cases from 45,000 in 2000, to below 10,000 in 2007. The success has prompted the Global Fund to allocate millions more dollars ($13.9 million in fact) earlier this month towards scaled-up elimination programs in the country.

While this news is still preliminary, it could mark a substantial achievement for this small African country, and for the global health community as a whole. If the disease remains eliminated in Swaziland for three consecutive years, the World Health Organization will certify the country a malaria-free zone.

The release of the “Global Malaria Action Plan” just a few weeks ago in New York has provided a real blueprint for eliminating malaria deaths worldwide. There have been many successes in the fight against malaria in the past few years, now with Swaziland as an addition to that list, showing that eliminating deaths is within reach if donors fully fund the Global Malaria Action Plan.

-Rena Pacheco-Theard