Swaziland could become the first mainland country in sub-Saharan Africa to rid itself of the parasitic infection, malaria, according to a representative from the The Global Health Malaria Initiative this week.

Anopheles gambiae mosquito Image/CDC
Anopheles gambiae mosquito

The number of malaria cases in the country has dropped some 97.5 percent, from 9, 700 to 243 between 1995 and 2013, experts note. The Swazi Ministry of Health claimed that in the last few years incidences of malaria have dropped from 49 to just 1 per every /1 000 people at risk.

In support of the vision for a malaria-free southern Africa, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has strengthened its commitment to the region through a US$17.8 million grant to the Elimination 8 (E8) regional initiative.

The E8 is a coordinated, eight-country effort that aims to eliminate malaria in four southern African countries by 2020 – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland, and subsequently pave the way for elimination in four more by 2030 – Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Across the eight countries, malaria cases have decreased by more than 50% since 2004 (World Malaria Report, 2014), contributing to the achievement of the malaria target in Millennium Development Goal 6.