- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites.
- There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
- The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria.
- Symptoms: Fever, tiredness, vomiting, headaches, seizures, chills, etc.
- Diagnosis: Examination of blood films or by antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDT).
- Prevention: Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. Two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying – are effective in a wide range of circumstances.
- Treatment: Antimalarial medications depending on the type of malaria.
- Vaccine: RTS,S (trade name Mosquirix) is the world’s first malaria vaccine shown to provide partial protection against malaria in young children. In 2021, WHO recommended widespread use of the RTS,S vaccine.
Malaria in India
- According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report, 2020, 11 highest burden countries – 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.
- The Government of India aims at eliminating malaria from the country by 2030.
- Efforts are being made by the government in the provision of microscopes, rapid diagnostics Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs). Sleeping under LLINs is a major control strategy. They are being supplied/distributed to high burden areas leading to reduction in endemicity in these otherwise very high endemic states.
Why in News?
- The Health and Family Welfare Ministry is organizing the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Conclave on Malaria Elimination in New Delhi.
- The Conclave will provide a platform for leaders from the Asia Pacific region to discuss ongoing efforts towards malaria elimination.The Conclave aims to reaffirm political commitment to galvanise action for malaria elimination by 2030.
- India has made remarkable progress towards malaria elimination in recent years and has been appreciated at the global level. Among the 11 countries that are part of the World Health Organization’s High Burden to High Impact initiative, only India has reported a decline in malaria cases during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Malaria cases have dropped by over 85 per cent and deaths also dropped by over 83 per cent from 2015 to 2022.