Malaria is a disease, that can be prevented and cured. Yet 4,35,000 people die of malaria in India, annually. In association with the World Health Organization (WHO), India has set a goal to be Malaria free by 2027 and eradicate the disease by 2030.
But how much progress have we actually made?
To prevent and eradicate malaria, India has planned and established the National Malaria Control Program and the National Malaria Eradication Program. Various technical, financial, operational and administrative problems have caused many ups and downs in the plan.
The Government of India launched the National Framework for Malaria Elimination 2016-2030 in February 2016 and the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-2022 in July 2017 with the support of the World Health Organisation.
However, all hope is not lost.
Even though the report says that almost half the cases of malaria are primarily from 5 countries, India is one of them. The global burden of malaria on India is almost 4 percent. It is evident, that India has many difficult hurdles to cross in order to be malaria-free.
4 Issues India Needs To Deal With To Become Malaria-Free
1. Funding Problems
The World Malaria Report 2018 also mentions inadequate funding in many countries of the world and especially in high burden nations of the disease.
According to WHO’s director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, there is inadequate investment in the control of the disease.
Dr. Tedros emphasizes that in countries where the most cases of malaria are revealed, we need to make changes in the measures to deal with it.
2. Development of Resistance Among Mosquitoes & Parasites
Another challenge is the resistance of parasites to anti-malaria medicines and the resistance of mosquitoes to pesticides.
Dr. Neena Valecha, the Director of National Institute of Malaria Research, emphasizes the importance of continuous research on Malaria in an interview given to WHO. According to Dr. Neena, a single policy cannot work in India due to the many species of parasites and various environmental conditions.
3. Political and Administrative Will
There is a need for political will across the world to eradicate malaria. At the same time, it is also necessary that there is no negligence on any level, be it for prevention of malaria or its diagnosis and treatment.
In 2017, in 23 countries 80 percent of mosquito nets (ITNs-Insecticides Treated Nets) were distributed globally.
Among those, only in 7 countries (which included India), an ITN between two people at risk of malaria is below the operational universal coverage target.
4. Lack of Monitoring of Malaria Cases
According to World Malaria Report, 2017, the monitoring of malaria is extremely weak, and only 8 percent of the estimated malaria cases are reported to the national system, this is the second worst in the world.
According to experts, it is important that we do not slow down when it comes to fighting against the disease. There is a dire need to maintain the efforts to control malaria. – The Quint