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Making Uzbekistan Malaria Free is Major Achievement

11 December 2018

GENEVA – When Uzbekistan earned WHO certification as malaria free, it was a major achievement in global health that demonstrates what is possible when partners coordinate preventive efforts, the Global Fund said today.

“It’s an extraordinary outcome,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We applaud Uzbekistan’s success, and we are delighted that the Global Fund was able to contribute to it.”

Malaria was once rampant in Uzbekistan. In 1943, one tenth of the population were infected. A half-century before that, the disease killed nearly 40,000 people in the nation’s capital district alone. Following World War II, the government concentrated on eliminating malaria, only to see its success in the early 1960s reversed by a devastating resurgence.

In recent years, the Global Fund has supported Uzbekistan’s efforts in fighting malaria through an innovative results-based approach, with direct support to Uzbekistan and a partnership agreement with WHO to align financing with the achievement of measurable outcomes on the pathway to elimination.

“We have achieved remarkable progress against malaria in Central Asia,” said Sands. “It’s a great example of commitment and a sustainable approach. The Global Fund has invested in this region for over a decade. With committed partners, every investment can achieve great value.”

Turkmenistan was certified as free of malaria in 2010, Armenia in 2011, Kyrgyzstan in 2016 and now Uzbekistan in 2018.

Sands added that, globally, there are currently two notable tracks on malaria. A significant number of countries are eliminating malaria. But in other countries, malaria rates are increasing, and there is greater drug and insecticide resistance.

“A child dies of malaria every two minutes,” said Sands. “We have to stop that, enabling elimination where possible, and reducing malaria as much as we can in the hardest-hit countries.”

The Global Fund’s investments represent about 60 percent of the international response to malaria, with US$10.6 billion invested since 2002.