Rajitha Senaratne

Former Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne transmits incorrect information on Malaria incidence


In 2016, I eliminated Malaria from Sri Lanka.

Divaina | June 24, 2020



Fact Check

To evaluate former Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne’s claim, FactCheck consulted WHO Malaria Terminology and Annual Reports and the National Malaria Strategic Plan from the Ministry of Health.

The WHO states that certification of malaria-free status is granted “after it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that local human malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes has been interrupted in an entire country for at least 3 consecutive years”.

Rajitha Senaratne was appointed Minister of Health only on January 12, 2015. While Sri Lanka was granted malaria-free status in 2016—which was during Senaratne’s tenure—the National Malaria Strategic Plan indicates that Sri Lanka had not recorded an indigenous case of Malaria after 2012. Exhibit 2 shows that progress towards Malaria free status was achieved under multiple administrations: the number of indigenous cases of malaria decreased dramatically from at least 1999. Between 1999 and 2016, Sri Lanka had six different ministers of health.

Therefore, former Minister Senaratne’s claim is wrong on two counts: (1) the elimination of malaria cannot be credited to one individual as it was the result of collaborative initiatives over a period of over 15 years and (2) Sri Lanka saw its last case of malaria three years prior to Rajitha Senaratne’s tenure as minister of health.

Therefore, we classify this statement as FALSE.

*FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is   publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information   becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment.



  • WHO, Global Malaria Programme, WHO malaria terminology, 2016, p. 12.
  • Ministry of Health, Anti Malaria Campaign, National Malaria Strategic Plan, 2014-2018, available at: http://amc.health.gov.lk/index.php/en/resources/strategic-plan [last accessed: 12 August 2020]
  • Ministry of Health, Anti Malaria Campaign, Annual Reports 2014 – 2016.