India reports 2.6 m fewer malaria cases in 2018

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on December 04, 2019

In India, only seven States accounted for 90 per cent of the estimated cases in 2018, says the World Malaria report 2019   -  scyther5

WHO pat for India, Uganda for achieving substantial reduction in cases, deaths

India and Uganda have received a special mention from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for their substantial reduction in malaria cases in 2018 over the previous year.

According to the World Malaria Report 2019, the two high-burden-to-high-impact (HBHI) countries that achieved a significant reduction in malaria cases in 2018, as compared with the previous year, were India (2.6 million fewer cases) and Uganda (1.5 million fewer cases).

Giving the overall landscape, the report said, there were an estimated 228 million cases and 4,05,000 deaths globally in 2018, concentrated mainly in Africa and India. This represented about 3 million fewer cases and 11,000 fewer deaths compared with 2017.

“These represent about 30 per cent fewer cases and 60 per cent fewer deaths in 2018 than would have been the case had levels of malaria incidence and malaria death remained similar to those in 2000,” said the report. However it added, “While the gains to date are impressive, the global malaria challenge remains enormous, and the rate of progress is slowing.”

The report said, “On the current trajectory, globally, the 2020 GTS (Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030) milestones for morbidity will not be achieved, and unless there is accelerated change, the 2025 and 2030 milestones will not be achieved.”

A global malaria case incidence of 45 per 1,000 population at risk in 2018 would have been required to get the world on target for the 2020 milestones, but current estimated incidence is 57 cases per 1000 population at risk, the report added.

In India, only seven out of 29 States and seven UTs accounted for 90 per cent of the estimated cases in 2018. “In these seven States, there were large reductions in malaria cases in 2018 compared with 2010, from a total of 14.3 million cases to 5.7 million cases,” the report said. Commending India’s performance on tackling malaria, non-profit organisation Malaria No More (MNM) said that the WHO’s report indicated that “of the 11 countries with the world’s highest malaria burdens, India was one of only two countries to reduce malaria cases between 2017 and 2018, achieving a 28 per cent reduction in malaria cases.”

This in fact builds on India’s 24 per cent reduction in malaria cases between 2016 and 2017 reported last year by the WHO, a note from MNM said.

Increase in funding

“India’s progress means the country no longer has the world’s 4th highest malaria burden, though it still is the only non-African country among the top 11 countries with the most malaria globally,” it added. The note added that India was the only country mentioned among 11 HBHI countries to increase its domestic funding between 2017-2018 to fight malaria.

“By aligning all the stakeholders — the Government, the private sector and the citizens — India has increased awareness and combated the adverse socio-economic impact of malaria, which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable including pregnant women and children under 5,” said Sanjeev Gaikwad, Country Director, MNM India.

Published on December 04, 2019

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