New Delhi: India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6 per cent in malaria cases in 2019 compared to 2018, according to a World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020.
India achieved a 83.34 per cent reduction in malaria morbidity and 92 per cent in malaria mortality between the year 2000 (20,31,790 cases, 932 deaths) and 2019 (3,38,494 cases, 77 deaths), achieving a goal of the Millennium Development Goals of 50-75 per cent decrease in case incidence between 2000 and 2019.
The report indicates that India has made considerable progress in reducing its malaria burden. The Annual Parasitic Incidence (API) reduced by 27.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017 and by 18.4 per cent in 2019 compared to 2018. India has sustained API less than one since year 2012.
The report, released by World Health Organisation which gives the estimated cases for malaria across the world based on mathematical projections, shows that the country also contributed to the largest drop in cases region-wide, from approximately 20 million to about 6 million. The percentage drop in the malaria cases was 71.8 per cent and deaths was 73.9 per cent between 2000 and 2019, an official report here said.
This decrease in incidence of malaria cases is also seen in the year-on-year tally. Cases and fatalities have dipped significantly by 21.27 per cent and 20 per cent in 2019 (3,38,494 cases, 77 deaths) compared to 2018 (4,29,928 cases, 96 deaths).
The total number of malaria cases reported in 2020, till October — 1,57,284 — has further decreased by 45.02 per cent against the corresponding period of 2019 (2,86,091).
The country initiated malaria elimination efforts in 2015 and these were intensified after the launch of National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) was launched by the Health Ministry in July 2017 which laid down strategies for the next five years.
The first two years saw a 27.7 per cent decline in cases and 49.5 per cent reduction in fatalities; 11,69,261 cases and 385 deaths in 2015 to 8,44,558 cases and 194 deaths in 2017.
The States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh disproportionately accounted for nearly 45.47 per cent (1,53,909 cases out of India’s 3,38,494 cases) of malaria cases and 70.54 per cent (1,10,708 cases out of India’s 1,56,940 cases) of falciparum Malaria cases in 2019. As much as 63.64 per cent (49 out of 77) of malaria deaths were also reported from these states.
Due to the Centre’s efforts in provision of microscopes, rapid diagnostics Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) – about 5 crore have been distributed in seven North-East states, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha up to 2018-19 and another 2.25 crore LLINs are being supplied/distributed during current financial year to high burden areas leading to reduction in endemicity in these otherwise very high endemic states. Additional procurement of 2.52 crore LLINs is initiated. Use of LLINs has been accepted by the community at large and has been one of the main contributors to the drastic malaria decline in the country.