Malaria Free

No malaria cases have been reported in the UAE since 2007, a senior health official said on the 12th anniversary of the country being declared free of the disease.

Dr Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al Rand, undersecretary of the Ministry of Health and Preventions for centres and clinics, said the UAE was also one of the first countries in Eastern Mediterranean Region to be officially recognised as malaria-free, according to the World Health Organisation.

“We have a robust malaria surveillance programme to detect and treat cases as well as the detection and control of insects in cooperation with neighboring countries,” he said in an event that was held to mark World Malaria Day, which falls on April 25.

“World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need to pursue efforts and increase the world’s commitment to the prevention and control of the disease, as well as raise awareness among individuals on avoiding the infection,” said Al Rand.

Today, the WHO’s African region is suffering from almost 90 per cent of the global malaria burden, resulting in severe damage to health systems and productivity – thus undermining Africa’s economic growth, he said.

Dr Al Rand said the UAE’s malaria efforts are now directed towards ensuring that all its citizens and residents are protected from the disease.

Ministry of Health and Preventions pays ‘great attention’ on vaccinations, health education and preventive medicines, especially for people who are travelling to malaria-endemic countries, he said.

At the recent gathering that was held under the theme ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, officials from different government sectors and health specialists tackled other preventive measures that are being taken to fight not just malaria but also other mosquito-borne diseases.