'Manipur to become malaria-free 9 yrs ahead of target'

A mosquito is seen through a microscope in the entomology laboratory. AFP photo

Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla on Friday expressed optimism that the state will be the first to achieve the "zero malaria status" in the country by 2021, nine years ahead of the national target of eliminating the tropical disease by 2030.

This would be possible because of multiple programmes of the government and efforts of the local communities over the years, Heptulla told PTI.

"Manipur will become the first state not only in the Northeastern region but also the entire nation to get the zero-malaria status. This will happen by 2021, nine years ahead of the national target to eliminate the disease by 2030," she said.

The country aims to achieve zero indigenous cases by 2027, sustain it thereafter and secure malaria-free certification by the World Health Organisation in 2030.

Heptullah, however, has a word of caution against complacency.

"The state has many water bodies that serve as breeding grounds for malarial mosquitoes. The awareness to keep the environment clean is the key to eliminating this communicable disease," the governor said.

At a programme earlier this year, State Malaria Officer Dr Thangpa Serto had said India accounts for 4 per cent of the total global malaria cases which are reported from 87 countries.

Among all the states, Manipur has adjudged the best-performing state in countering malaria this year.

Malaria cases in the state have declined from 145 in 2014 to 80 in 2017 and just 12 in 2018. There has been no malaria-related death in the state since 2013, Serto had said.

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