Turkmenistan certified malaria-free
19 October 2010
Turkmenistan is certified as malaria-free. In October 2010, the country was added to The official register of areas where malaria elimination has been achieved. Turkmenistan is the third country to be added to the list , after the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, since WHO certification procedures were re-initiated in 2004, after being abandoned in the 1980s.
Turkmenistan, with a population of > 5 million people in 2008, used to be endemic for Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax and P. malariae. Turkmenistan has a long history of malaria control dating back to the 1920s. By 1952, malaria in Turkmenistan was eliminated "as a major public health problem". However in the 1960-1980 period, there was an increasing trend in imported malaria originating in Afghanistan. In the 1990s, after independence, the situation deteriorated because of neglect of the malaria problem and increased population movement.
In the next ten years (1999–2008), a total of 150 malaria cases were detected in Turkmenistan. The majority of cases were in males (127/150) and in rural residents (117/150). Most cases occurred among young adults.
To eliminate the low malaria burden in the country, in 2005, the President of Turkmenistan signed the Tashkent Declaration, “The Move from Malaria Control to Elimination” promoted by WHO and endorsed by all malaria-affected countries of the WHO European Region, and put in place an elimination strategy centred on an intense malaria surveillance system. By 2007, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry decided to aim for certification of elimination, and in 2009, after four years without local transmission, procedures towards certification of the achievement of malaria elimination were launched. Following WHO standard operating procedures, including intensive external evaluation, Turkmenistan was certified malaria free in October 2010.