Certification process

Last update: 13 March 2018

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status. WHO grants this certification when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of local transmission of all human malaria parasites has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past 3 consecutive years; and that a fully functional surveillance and response system that can prevent re-establishment of indigenous transmission is in place.

  • The country, after meeting the above-mentioned criteria, submits an official request for certification to the WHO Director-General through the WHO regional office.
  • The country formulates a plan of action and timeline for the certification process with WHO. This normally takes place during an initial WHO assessment mission.
  • The country finalizes the required documentation and national elimination report. The latter should be submitted to WHO.
  • The Malaria Elimination Certification Panel (MECP) reviews the national elimination report.
  • An evaluation team, established by WHO, conducts field visits to verify findings in the national elimination report and develops an evaluation report.
  • The MECP reviews the evaluation report and submits a summary to the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) with a recommendation to certify malaria elimination or to postpone certification.
  • The WHO MPAC makes a final recommendation on certifying malaria-free status and submits the recommendation to the WHO Director-General.
  • The WHO Director-General makes the final decision and officially informs the national government of the national certification.
  • When granted, WHO publishes the certification in the Weekly Epidemiological Record. The country is listed in the WHO official register of areas where malaria elimination has been achieved.
  • The country continues its efforts to prevent the re-establishment of malaria transmission and reports annually to WHO in order to maintain its malaria free status.

The burden of proof falls on the country requesting certification. Countries are encouraged to apply for certification once they are eligible to do so. However, the certification process is voluntary and can only be initiated after a country has submitted an official request to WHO.

The full process is described in detail in the 2017 Framework for malaria elimination.

Malaria Elimination Certification Panel

Following the recent revision of the WHO process for certification of national malaria elimination, the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) recommended the creation of the Malaria Elimination Certification Panel (MECP). Operating as a standing technical expert group, the MECP is tasked with recommending to WHO whether malaria elimination can be certified in applicant countries.

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