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Government aims to eliminate malaria by 2027, launches national strategic plan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-07-2017 Neetu Chandra Sharma

New Delhi: India will aim to eliminate malaria by 2027, the health minister said on Wednesday as he launched the national strategic plan for malaria elimination (2017-22).

“In previous plans of the government for malaria, encouraging results have been achieved in the North East India and our efforts are now focussed in other states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,” health minister J.P. Nadda said.

“The government would aim to eliminate malaria by 2027. The programme has to be owned by the states and they have a larger responsibility,” he said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, India accounts for 75% of all malaria cases in South-East Asia.

The new Strategic Plan gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.

“The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years,” said Nadda.

New interventions for case management and vector control such as rapid diagnostic tests, artemisinin-based combination therapy and Long Lasting Insecticidal nets (LLINs) were introduced under the strategic plan last year. Union health ministry has especially been focussing on Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs) for past three years. “The Ministry has distributed 14 million nets and 25 million nets are to be distributed,” said Nadda.

About 95% of the Indian population lives in malaria endemic areas; but 80% of malaria reported in the country comes from areas where 20% of the population resides—in tribal, hilly, hard-to-reach or inaccessible areas. Malaria in India is particularly entrenched in low-income rural areas of eastern and north-eastern states.

“We have been sensitising the states and union territories to run their own malaria elimination programmes. High burden states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Chandigarh have begun their individual programmes, and others are soon to follow. Operational guidelines for malaria elimination and a manual on integrated vector management has been prepared and shared with all states and union territories,” said Dr A.C. Dhariwal, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“Under the new five year plan we have decided to take up concerted efforts at the district level and push for a micro-level approach. Case detection and management, and community outreach services will be carried out by ASHA workers and community health volunteers of various NGOs. They will also be given medicine stocks to administer medicines as soon as they detect malaria,” said Dr Dhariwal.

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