What’s the news?
- The Union Health minister in his address to commemorate World Malaria Day 2022 has called for prioritization of malaria elimination and said leveraging technology and innovation will help in developing tailor-made solutions to advance India’s malaria elimination plan and contribute to improved health, quality of life and alleviation of poverty.
- This year’s theme is “Harness innovation to reduce the global malaria disease burden and save lives.”
- A manual on Integrated Vector Management 2022 was released on this occasion.
News in detail
- Suggesting that the private sector including the private practitioners need to align their malaria case management, reporting and related activities with the national program, the need is to emphasize progressive strengthening of the healthcare delivery system and improving multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration.
- The Union Health minister highlighted that “Not only diagnosis and treatment, “swachhta’’(Cleanliness) in our personal and community surroundings and social awareness regarding malaria control and prevention are equally important in our collective fight against the disease and for meeting our goal of elimination by 2030”.
- India has made progress in reducing the malaria incidence and deaths and has resulted in 86.45% decline in malaria cases and 79.16% reduction in malaria related deaths in 2021 as compared to 2015 but still more needs to be done to achieve the goal of “Malaria Free India”.
- 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/AS01 (RTS,S) (trade name Mosquirix) is the world’s first malaria vaccine shown to provide partial protection against malaria in young children. The vaccine is being provided to young children through national immunization programs in parts of three sub-Saharan African countries as part of a pilot introduction that began in 2019.
- In 2020, there were an estimated 241 million cases of malaria worldwide.
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.
- India contributed 1.7% of malaria cases and 1.2% deaths globally.
- India continues to make impressive gains in reduction of malaria burden. India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6% in 2019 over 2018.
- India achieved a reduction of 83.34% in malaria morbidity and 92% in malaria mortality between the year 2000 and 2019.
- Decline in malaria has been observed in the hitherto high endemic states like Odisha, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Steps taken by Indian government to eliminate malaria
- In India, Malaria Elimination efforts were initiated in 2015 and were intensified after the launch of National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) was launched by the Health Ministry in 2017 which laid down strategies for the next five years.
- Efforts were made by the Government of India in the provision of microscopes, rapid diagnostics Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs).
- They are being supplied/distributed to high burden areas leading to reduction in endemicity in these otherwise very high endemic states.