What is the E-2025 initiative by WHO?

On 21 April 2021, WHO launched the E-2025 initiative to halt the transmission of malaria in 25 identified countries by 2025.
E-2025 initiative by WHO
E-2025 initiative by WHO

In 1939, Mark F. Boyd rightly said that Malaria control should not be a campaign rather it should be a policy, a long-term programme. It cannot be accomplished or maintained by spasmodic effort but requires the adoption of a practicable programme, the reasonable continuity of which will be sustained for a long term of years. 

Since 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) has supported a group of 21 malaria-eliminating countries through its special initiative "E-2020". The goal is to eliminate malaria within the 2020 timeline. 

The report mentions that eight E-2020 member countries reported zero indigenous cases of malaria in 2020. This is a remarkable achievement keeping in view the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It further mentions that seven E-2020 member countries have achieved the elimination milestone of the WHO global malaria strategy--  Algeria, Belize, Cabo Verde, China, El Salvador, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Malaysia.

What is the E-2025 initiative?

On 21 April 2021, ahead of World Malaria Day, WHO launched the E-2025 initiative to halt the transmission of malaria in 25 identified countries by 2025. It is built on the foundation of the E-2020 initiative. 

Countries were identified by WHO across four key criteria:

1- The establishment of a government-endorsed elimination plan.
2- Meeting a defined threshold of malaria case reductions in recent years.
3- A designated governmental agency for malaria elimination and the capacity to confirm 100% of suspected malaria cases in a laboratory.
4- Selected by the Malaria Elimination Oversight Committee.

Countries selected for the E-2025 initiative:

Automatically Nominated

1- Mexico
2- Costa Rica
3- Ecuador
4- Suriname
5- Belize
6- Cabo Verde
7- Saudi Arabia
8- Islamic Republic of Iran
9- Nepal
10- Bhutan
11- Republic of Korea
12- Malaysia
13- Comoros
14- Bostwana
15- Eswatini
16- South Africa
17- Timor-Leste

Newly Added

1- Panama
2- Vanuatu
3- Honduras
4- Thailand
5- Guatemala
6- Dominican Republic
7- Sao Tome And Principe
8- Democratic People's Republic of Korea

It is to be noted that all the E-2020 countries that have not yet requested malaria-free certification by WHO have been automatically nominated to participate in the E-2025. 

Table: Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030

Goals Milestones Targets
2020 2025 2030
Reduce malaria mortality rates globally compared with 2015 At least 40% At least 75% At least 90%
Reduce malaria case incidence globally compared with 2015 At least 40% At least 75% At least 90%
Eliminate malaria from countries in which malaria was transmitted in 2015 At least 10 countries At least 20 countries At least 35 countries
Prevent re-establishment of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free Prevent re-establishment  Prevent re-establishment  Prevent re-establishment 

What is the E-2020 initiative?

In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified a group of 21 countries spanning five regions to scale up efforts to achieve malaria elimination by 2020. E-2020 initiative was launched in the year 2017 with an aim of achieving zero indigenous cases of malaria within the 2020 timeline. 

Countries were identified by WHO across three key criteria:

1- Trends in malaria case incidence between 2000 and 2014.
2- Declared malaria objectives of affected countries.
3- Opinions of WHO experts on the subject.

Countries selected for the E-2020 initiative:

1- Algeria
2- Belize
3- Cabo Verde
4- Mexico
5- El Salvador
6- Costa Rica
7- Ecuador
8- Suriname
9- Botswana
10- Paraguay
11- South Africa
12- Nepal
13- Iran
14- China
15- Bhutan
16- Republic of Korea
17- Saudi Arabia
19- Malaysia
20- Comoros
21- Eswatini

India's initiatives towards malaria elimination

India launched a 5-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination in 2017. The plan provided a roadmap to end malaria in 571 of 678 districts of India by 2022. Additionally, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently established the Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India), a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control.

About Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. It spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Causes: Plasmodium spread by mosquitoes
Symptoms: Fever, vomiting, headache, yellow skin
Complications: Seizures, coma, and death
Prevention: Mosquito nets, insect repellent, mosquito control, and vaccine
Vaccine: RTS,S (branded as Mosquirix, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, approved by European Medicines Agency in 2015)
Regions: Predominantly found in Africa, South America, and Asia.

WHO Global Malaria Strategy

As per the strategy, a country that was malaria-endemic in 2015 had to achieve at least one year of zero
indigenous cases of malaria, and the same through the end of 2020.

Do you know?

El Salvador reported the highest number of malaria cases in Central America in 1965. However, the country became the first in the region to eliminate the disease. 

World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020: Complete Analysis of the WHO Report

What is Plasmodium Ovale Malaria?

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