World Malaria Day 2009

Getting to zero: WHO European Region working towards malaria elimination

Copenhagen, 23 April 2009

Owing to intensive anti-malaria interventions, the number of reported malaria cases in the WHO European Region has fallen by more than 150-fold since 1995. The latest information available shows that only 589 cases of malaria due to local transmission were notified by the WHO European Member States in 2008 compared with 90 712 in 1995.

In 2008, all malaria-affected countries of the Region moved into a new malaria elimination phase. National strategies on malaria have been revised to reflect the new elimination challenges. The WHO European Region’s goal is to stop malaria transmission by 2015 and ultimately eliminate the disease.

The Region is getting closer to reaching this goal. Only six countries (1) out of the 53 Member States in the Region have not yet interrupted malaria transmission. Two countries – Armenia and Turkmenistan – will most probably attain malaria-free status by 2010. A country can request WHO to certify its malaria-free status when it has reported no cases for at least three consecutive years.

In the countries where malaria had been eliminated, priority is given to maintaining the malaria-free status. Particular emphasis is given to situations where there is a risk of spread of malaria between neighbouring countries and regions. Countries in the WHO European and the Eastern Mediterranean Regions have similar epidemiological situations and problems with regards to malaria. Therefore, closer cross-border cooperation is being promoted through joint projects on malaria control and elimination.

World Malaria Day – a day to act

World Malaria Day on 25 April is a day of unified commemoration of the global effort to provide effective control of malaria around the world. This year’s World Malaria Day marks a critical moment in time. The international malaria community has merely two years to meet the 2010 target of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria, as called for by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The theme of this year's World Malaria Day is "Counting Malaria Out". The Roll Back Malaria Partnership - which includes WHO - is kicking off a campaign to engage partners in a comprehensive effort to count and quantify the progress and impact of the fight against malaria.



(1) Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan.

For more information contact:

Technical information:

Dr Mikhail Ejov
Medical Officer, Malaria Programme
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Scherfigsvej 8, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 3917 1554
Fax: +45 3917 1851

Press information:

Ms Liuba Negru
Press and Media Relations
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Scherfigsvej 8, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 3917 1344.