The year 2023 stands as a historic milestone in the realm of public health, witnessing an unparalleled wave of disease eradication across various countries, owing to concerted national initiatives and collaborative endeavors among global health partners.
The World Health Organization (WHO) heralded remarkable achievements as several nations celebrated the elimination of infectious diseases through dedicated efforts and collaborative actions.
In a significant declaration, WHO certified Azerbaijan and Tajikistan as malaria-free nations in March, followed by Belize in June. These certifications underscored the potential for a malaria-free future, showcasing how relentless efforts can turn this vision into reality, especially for the world’s most vulnerable populations affected by this debilitating disease.
Egypt accomplished an extraordinary feat by becoming the world’s first country to achieve “gold tier” status in the journey toward eliminating hepatitis C. This achievement marks a historic turnaround for a nation that, less than a decade ago, grappled with one of the highest rates of hepatitis C infections globally.
Global Efforts Drive Record Disease Eradication in 2023
The global fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) saw significant progress, with 50 countries successfully eliminating at least one NTD. This aligns with WHO’s ambitious goal of having 100 countries reach this milestone by 2030, signaling a promising trajectory in combating these debilitating diseases.
January witnessed Ghana’s elimination of gambiense Human African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness. This life-threatening disease, transmitted by tsetse flies, has long plagued rural communities in poverty-stricken regions of sub-Saharan Africa.
In a collective effort to combat trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide, May saw Benin and Mali achieve elimination, joining the ranks of five other African countries. July witnessed Iraq from the Eastern Mediterranean region achieving this significant milestone, marking strides in eliminating this debilitating disease.
Further successes unfolded as Bangladesh and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic successfully eliminated lymphatic filariasis, commonly referred to as elephantiasis. This parasitic disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, imposes debilitating effects on affected populations.
Bangladesh etched its name in history as the first country to eliminate two NTDs in the same year. Additionally, it became the world’s inaugural nation to receive official validation for eliminating kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis), a life-threatening disease transmitted by sandflies, which posed a fatal threat in over 95% of untreated cases.
These collective triumphs underscore the significance of global collaboration and unwavering dedication in paving the way for a healthier and disease-free world by disease eradication.