São Tomé and Príncipe is best known for stunning beaches, Galapagos-caliber birdwatching and historic coffee plantations. But in recent years, the maritime nation has acquired a new reputation as one of Africa’s most successful countries in fighting malaria, a disease that kills more than 400,000 people across the continent every year. According to the World Health Organization:
SINCE 2014, THE NATION OF SÃO TOMÉ AND PRINCIPE HAS HAD ZERO MALARIA DEATHS, MAKING IT THE ONLY COUNTRY IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA TO MAINTAIN THAT ACHIEVEMENT FOR SEVERAL CONSECUTIVE YEARS.
Nonfatal infections are also dropping drastically, from a high of more than 50,000 in 2002 — in a population of 200,000 — to fewer than 4,000 in 2016. That rate of decline is three times faster than the average for Africa, which as a continent has seen the world’s slowest gains against malaria despite having by far the largest share of cases.