The number of malaria cases in India has fallen by 86% since 2015 and there has been a 79% reduction in the number of deaths caused by the disease between 2015 and 2021, according to a report by a non-profit organization More of malaria.
India’s budgetary allocation to fight malaria more than doubled between 2017 and 2019 and it became a notifiable disease in 31 states and union territories, according to the report titled ‘The March of the India towards the elimination of malaria”.
This was complemented by the distribution of over nine crores of long-lasting insecticidal nets, of which 4.8 crores were distributed between 2019 and 2021.
The government aims to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030. Among the critical challenges that remain are securing greater participation of the private sector, individuals and communities to lead a common fight against the disease. , says the report.
Involving the private sector in effective malaria reporting, identifying asymptomatic or hidden malaria cases, improving real-time case reporting, and technological innovation are areas that need more work.
Malaria in India is perceived as a disease of the poor, and is therefore not high on the public health agenda. A relevant need is increased action and attention from the government, said Pratik Kumar, country director of Malaria No More, at a media awareness workshop on malaria held here on Wednesday.
“However, this ambitious goal cannot be achieved by the government alone and requires active participation and support from all sections of society. All hands must join in the effort to eliminate malaria so that India can achieve the goal of eliminating the disease from the country by 2030,” Kumar said.
“The fight against malaria has made tremendous progress in recent years. However, as seen in the past, malaria has a habit of bouncing back with a vengeance. Through active media attention, key gaps and issues can be regularly highlighted, ensuring they are taken into account in strategic and policy decisions. This will help India accelerate its efforts towards malaria elimination,” added Kirti Mishra, Technical Director, Odisha, Malaria No More.
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