Malaria cases reducing but there are challenges ahead

Malaria cases reducing but there are challenges ahead

There has been an 85 per cent reduction in total Malaria cases between 2017-2020

As far as children are concerned, there has been an 81 per cent reduction of Malaria cases during the same period. Credit: Getty Images

 While cases of Malaria are reducing, there are still challenges as we head towards the last leg of elimination of the mosquito-borne infectious disease, according to experts.

There has been an 85 per cent reduction in total Malaria cases between 2017-2020.

As far as children are concerned, there has been an 81 per cent reduction of Malaria cases during the same period.

Following the launch of a report titled ‘India’s March Towards Malaria Elimination’, Malaria No More hosted its second-panel discussion ‘Exploring the true burden of Malaria in India’, during which the issue involving the mosquito-borne disease was discussed threadbare.

Lack of technologies to reliably diagnose Plasmodium vivax malaria, the limited ability of antimalarials in the radical cure, growing concern over increasing drug resistance-favoring polymorphism, and increasing insecticide resistance threatens to thwart success against malaria in the near future.

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The panel discussion was chaired by bureaucrat-turned-politician K J Alphons.

“We are in the last leg and need to reach zero Malaria cases by 2027 to reach our goal of Malaria elimination by 2030. However, today we are faced with the inherent problem of under-reporting. Our focus needs to be on getting our numbers right and bringing together the needed resources to accelerate the entire process of malaria elimination. Along with elimination of poverty, we need to eliminate fundamental health issues like Malaria,” he said.

Dr Kaushik Sarkar, Interim India Country Director, Malaria No More, says, “Policy level decisions are made based on experiences, there is a need to support policymakers with tools such as dashboards and algorithms. The path of malaria elimination lacks data support and tools. We need to focus on existing technology and that which is in the pipeline for maximum efficient outcomes as we enter the end game. There is a need to involve the private sector to overcome technology gaps and challenges.”

Dr Rajiv Tandon, Director, Health, RTI International, while speaking about the efficient implementation of Malaria elimination strategies says, “India is focussing on Covid-19, however, the fight against pandemic has an abundance of resources at this moment. We need to ensure that we do not remove focus from other important health issues as well, for fear of receding the progress that we have achieved in addressing such issues. In order to realise complete Malaria elimination, we have an imminent need to adopt a formalised system, like was done in the case of Polio eradication, to ensure an organised and systematic approach.”

In 2015, India laid out a 15-years roadmap to achieve Malaria elimination in a phased approach in its National Framework for Malaria Elimination.

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