The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is urging Caribbean countries to take urgent action to stem the increase in malaria cases, maintain achievements and free the region of malaria, a disease which, during the last century, was the leading cause of death in almost every nation in the world.

“Malaria elimination is now closer than ever,” said PAHO director, Dominican-born Dr. Carissa F Etienne, who warned however “we cannot rely or relax on the actions already taken.

She added “Efforts must be stepped-up, where incidences of the disease have increased.”

PAHO said that Paraguay was certified as having eliminated malaria from its territory in June of this year; Argentina is on track to obtain its certification in 2019; and Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Suriname are “potentially on their way to achieving elimination by 2020.

According to CMC News, other countries, however, have recorded an increase in the number of cases of malaria, which puts at risk achievement of the goals to reduce the number of cases, and eliminate the disease in the region by 2030.

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