- Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released the World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020.
- The report provides a comprehensive update on global and regional malaria data and trends including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, elimination and surveillance.
- It indicates that India has made considerable progress in reducing its malaria burden.
- Malaria cases globally numbered about 229 million, an annual estimate that has remained virtually unchanged over the last four years.
- In 2019, it claimed about 4,09,000 lives, compared to 4,11,000 in 2018. The report noted that the 11 highest-burden countries viz. Burkina Faso,Cameroon, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, account for 70% of the global estimated case burden and 71% of global estimated deaths from malaria.
- Countries in South-East Asia made particularly strong progress, with reductions in cases and deaths of 73% and 74%, respectively.
- India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6% in 2019 as compared to 2018.
- The Annual Parasite Incidence (API, the number of new infections per year per 1000 population) reduced by 18.4% in 2019 as compared to 2018.
- India has sustained API less than one since the year 2012. India has also contributed to the largest drop in cases region-wide, from approximately 20 million to about 6 million.
- The percentage drop in the malaria cases was 71.8% and deaths were 73.9% between 2000 to 2019.
- India achieved a reduction of 83.34% in malaria morbidity and 92% in malaria mortality between the year 2000 and 2019, thereby achieving Goal 6 of the Millennium
- MDG 6 aimed to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,which have a direct and indirect impact on rural development, agricultural productivity and food and nutrition
- The Sustainable Development Goals have replaced the MDGs. States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh (high endemic states) disproportionately accounted for nearly 45.47% of malaria cases in 2019.
- 63.64% of malaria deaths were also reported from these states.
- The figures and trends between the last two decades clearly show the drastic decline in malaria, hence the malaria elimination target of 2030 looks achievable.
INITIATIVES TAKEN TO CONTROL MALARIA:
- In India, malaria elimination efforts were initiated in 2015 and were intensified after the launch of the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- NFME is in line with WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria, 2016-2030, which guides the WHO Global Malaria Programme (GMP), responsible for coordinating WHO’s global efforts to control and eliminate malaria.
- The National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) was launched in July 2017 which laid down strategies for the following five years.
- It gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria.
- Implementation of High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative was started in four states (West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh) in July 2019.
- In 2018, the WHO and the RBM Partnership initiated the HBHI initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India to end malaria.
- It has continued to make impressive gains in India, with 18% reductions in cases and 20% reductions in death, over the last 2 years.
- Due to the efforts made by the Government of India in the provision of microscopes, rapid diagnostics Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to high burden areas has led to a reduction in endemicity in these otherwise very high endemic states.
- LLINs are nets treated in the factory with an insecticide incorporated into the net fabric which makes the insecticide last at least 20 washes in standard laboratory testing and three years of recommended use under field conditions.
- Use of LLINs has been accepted by the community at large and has been one of the main contributors to the drastic malaria decline in the country.