ASUNCION – Newly certified as malaria-free by the World Health Organization (WHO), Paraguay “is prepared to carry out fast diagnoses and implement immediate controls” to fight imported cases, the head of the country’s Senepa anti-malaria agency said on Thursday.
Paraguay’s Public Health Ministry confirmed this week that two people who had travelled to Africa had been diagnosed with malaria.
Senepa director-general Nicolas Aguayo referred to the two imported cases during an event to honor members of the agency.
He noted that the WHO not only recognized Paraguay’s success in eliminating malaria, but also acclaimed “our capacity to respond quickly, carry out diagnoses in less than 24 hours, and begin treatment in three days.”
Aguayo said that the two cases of imported malaria posed “absolutely” no risk.
The minister of health, Carlos Morinigo, praised the Senepa officials who were being honored, and handed them recognition certificates.
The minister announced his commitment to provide resources to Senepa to hire 786 contract employees from the UN Development Program (UNDP), who have been helping fight malaria in the country for four years.
The WHO declared Paraguay malaria-free in June, becoming the second country in the Americas to achieve that recognition after Cuba, which was certified as malaria-free in 1973.