Why is it in the news?
- The latest World Malaria Report indicates a significant reduction in both cases and fatalities attributed to the mosquito-borne infection in India.
- With approximately 33.8 lakh cases and 5,511 deaths, India saw a substantial 30% decline in malaria incidence and a noteworthy 34% decrease in mortality in 2022 compared to the preceding year.
|Global Malaria Trends
· Worldwide increase in malaria cases and deaths after a decade of stability.
· 5 million additional malaria cases in 2022, totalling 249 million. Of the 5 million additional cases, the highest 2.1 million was from Pakistan that had a flood in 2022
· Malaria deaths in 2022 is 608,000 compared to 576,000 in 2019.
Factors behind the India’s Success
- Focused efforts to provide primary healthcare services in the most distant and inaccessible regions.
- Utilization of digital data to strengthen malaria surveillance, enabling more efficient tracking and response mechanisms.
- Adequate preparation and management of extreme weather events, such as cyclones, reducing incidences of malaria associated with such occurrences.
Key Strategies in India
- Implementation of good preventive practices and the use of effective tools to control mosquito populations.
- Implementation of effective case management strategies to reduce the severity and impact of malaria.
- Substantial investments in key tools such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and antimalarial drugs.
- Emphasis on the use of point-of-care tests to quickly detect and diagnose malaria, facilitating prompt treatment.
- Recognition of urbanization as a factor contributing to a reduction in mosquito breeding grounds and, consequently, malaria transmission.
India’s Global Contribution
- India accounted for 1.4% of total malaria cases globally.
- Despite being a significant contributor, India’s success in reducing cases and deaths is noteworthy globally.
- Success reflected in the larger WHO South East Asian region.
- India’s achievements align with the broader regional progress toward the 2030 target of reducing malaria cases and deaths by 90%.
Climate Change and Malaria
- Concerns about the impact of climate change on malaria transmission due to the sensitivity of the malaria parasite and mosquitoes to climatic factors.
- Recognition of the need to address climate change as a crucial factor influencing the geographical spread and intensity of malaria.
- Identification of challenges, including drug resistance, insecticide resistance, and gene deletions in parasites, which may complicate malaria control efforts.
- Particular attention to vivax malaria, which poses challenges due to its ability to hide in the liver and cause recurrent infections (Over 40% of cases in India).
- Emphasis on strengthening surveillance systems to locate and treat scattered cases, coupled with the need for interventions tailored to specific national and subnational requirements.
Call for Action
- Recognition of the importance of robust surveillance systems, especially when the burden of the disease is lower and cases are more dispersed.
- The call for real-time digital data to enable local administrations to plan interventions more effectively.
- Acknowledgment of existing challenges and the necessity to overcome them to achieve the ambitious goal of malaria elimination by 2030.