Here’s a closer look at the timeline of the disease which originates from the Italian word mala aria, meaning “bad air”.

Malaria in Singapore and Malaysia

1805 – First cases of malaria were reported in British colony on Penang island, though there were likely earlier, unrecorded infections.

1901 – The earliest malaria programme in the country started in Federated States of Malaya (West Malaysia) by British colonial administration.

1911 – The Malaria Advisory Board was established to guide government on control strategies and implementing malaria control projects

1960s – Singapore was plagued by various diseases including tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid and malaria

1964 – The Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insects Act in Singapore as an effort to rid of malaria-carrying mosquitoes

1967 – 1981 Malaysia started a campaign to eliminate malaria, twelve years after the Global Malaria Eradiaction Programme by the WHO. The programme did not eliminate incidences, but led to a decline in cases.

1982 – Singapore declared by the World Health Organisation as malaria-free

2011 – The National Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Malaria (2011 – 2020) was formulated by the Malaysian Health Ministry with target to eliminate locally acquired human-only malaria by 2020.

Unravelling the 4,000 year history of malaria

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