New Delhi: The Health Ministry on Thursday launched the National Framework for Malaria Elimination with a view to eradicating the mosquito-borne disease from India by 2030.
The objectives of the framework include eradication of malaria from all low- and moderately-endemic states and union territories by 2022 and reduction in malaria incidents to less than one case per 1,000 population in every part of India by 2024, a health ministry statement said.
Preventing re-transmission of malaria in areas where it has been eliminated and maintaining malaria-free status of the country by 2030 are its other objectives.
India accounts for 70 percent of malaria cases and 69 percent malaria deaths in South East Asian region countries. In 2015, 1.13 million cases were reported in India.
“India stands committed to eliminating malaria and is committed to allocating infrastructure and financial resources to this task,” said Health Minister J.P. Nadda at the launch of the framework, which he termed historic.
Presently, 80 percent of malaria cases occur among 20 percent people classified as high-risk category, although approximately 82 percent of the country’s population lives in malaria transmission risk areas.
These high-risk populations are found, among other places, in 200 districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka and eight north-eastern states.
Under the framework, the states and union territories have been urged to include malaria eradication in their broader health policies and planning framework.
Secretary (health) B.P. Sharma highlighted the importance of the segmented approach in tackling the issue.
“Eliminating malaria will result in cutting down on expenditure on disease control programme, and will help in reducing out-of-pocket expenditure too,” he said, noting that India has sturdy health systems with trained manpower and the learning from fighting Polio.
Malaria interventions are highly cost-effective and demonstrate one of the highest returns on investment in public health. In countries where the disease is endemic, efforts to reduce and eliminate malaria are increasingly viewed as high-impact strategic investments that generate significant returns for public health, help to alleviate poverty, improve equity and contribute to overall development.
Nafsiah Mboi, the envoy of Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), stated that the launch of the document demonstrates renewed commitment and strategic thinking on India’s part, and is a significant effort for the malaria elimination efforts and goals of the region and globally also.
She highlighted the importance of community mobilization and sustenance of momentum of efforts.
“The elimination will produce multiple benefits and help to build systems to fight other mosquito-borne illnesses also,” said Mboi.