Uzbekistan’s success in becoming recognized as a malaria-free country by the World Health Organization (WHO), is an “extraordinary outcome,” said the executive director of the Global Fund on Tuesday, a UN-backed partnership to end malaria epidemics.
Malaria has a long and deadly history in Uzbekistan: in the late nineteenth century, the disease killed nearly 40,000 people in the capital district alone, and in 1943, one tenth of the population was infected. In the post-war years, the Uzbek government concentrated on eliminating malaria, but the country was hit by a devastating resurgence in the early 1960s.
That trend has been reversed in recent years, with the Global Fund and WHO helping Uzbekistan to combat malaria, using an innovative results-based approach that put the country on the path to finally eliminating the disease in 2018.
“We have achieved remarkable progress against malaria in Central Asia,” said the head of the Global Fund, Peter 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.”