Cape Verde Eliminates Malaria, Becoming Fourth African Nation to Do So

Key facts about Malaria

  • Globally in 2022, there were an estimated 249 million malaria cases and 608 000 malaria deaths in 85 countries.
  • The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden.
  • In 2022, the Region was home to 94% of malaria cases (233 million) and 95% (580 000) of malaria deaths.
  • Children under 5 accounted for about 80% of all malaria deaths in the Region.


Malaria is a life-threatening disease spread to humans by some types of mosquitoes. It is mostly found in tropical countries. It is preventable and curable.


The most common early symptoms of malaria are fever, headache and chills.

Symptoms usually start within 10–15 days of getting bitten by an infected mosquito.

Severe symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness and fatigue 
  • impaired consciousness
  • multiple convulsions
  • difficulty breathing
  • dark or bloody urine
  • jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin) 
  • abnormal bleeding.

People with severe symptoms should get emergency care right away. Getting treatment early for mild malaria can stop the infection from becoming severe. 

Cape Verde eliminates Malaria


Cape Verde has achieved the distinction of being the fourth African country and the 44th globally to eradicate malaria. With Africa bearing the highest burden of the mosquito-borne disease, accounting for 94% of the 249 million cases and 95% of global deaths in 2022, this accomplishment holds significant importance. Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritius obtained malaria-free certification in 2019, 2010, and 1973, respectively.

Despite Cape Verde experiencing severe epidemics across all ten islands, since the 1980s, malaria has been restricted to only two islands, Santiago and Boa Vista, both of which have not reported cases since 2017.*The WHO

The global malaria case count continues to be notably elevated compared to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels. In 2022, the disease claimed approximately 608,000 lives, predominantly affecting children and pregnant women.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that disruptions to healthcare services during the pandemic led to 63,000 malaria-related deaths between 2019 and 2021.

To address this ongoing challenge, two vaccines have received approval for combating the disease.

The WHO recommended widespread use of the R21/Matrix-M vaccine last year, while the RTS,S vaccine, endorsed by the agency in 2021, is currently being introduced in 12 African countries over the next two years.

The WHO said last Friday that the country’s “long journey” to elimination included free treatment and testing for all new arrivals and systematic surveillance and mapping of mosquito breeding sites throughout the year. These structures will remain in place to help the country fight other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.

“I salute the government and people of Cape Verde for their unwavering commitment and resilience in their journey to eliminating malaria. Cape Verde’s success is the latest in the global fight against malaria, and gives us hope that with existing tools, as well as new ones including vaccines, we can dare to dream of a malaria-free world.” said WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


Malaria can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites and by taking medicines. Talk to a doctor about taking medicines such as chemoprophylaxis before travelling to areas where malaria is common.

Lower the risk of getting malaria by avoiding mosquito bites:  

  • Use mosquito nets when sleeping in places where malaria is present
  • Use mosquito repellents (containing DEET, IR3535 or Icaridin) after dusk
  • Use coils and vaporizers.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Use window screens.

In conclusion

For the latest information about Malaria, visit The WHO website

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