Malaria is all set to become a notifiable disease across India, with Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Meghalaya too in the process of putting this vector-borne disease in the category. This will then require by law that cases be reported to government authorities.
Currently malaria is a notifiable disease in 33 States and Union Territories in India.
Confirming the development, a senior Health Ministry official said this is part of India’s vision to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030.
The Health Ministry has also initiated a joint action plan with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for malaria elimination in tribal areas.
Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites (plasmodium vivax, plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium malariae and plasmodium ovale) that are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, delivering the keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Leaders’ Conclave on Malaria Elimination on April 24, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that in India malaria is not just a public health issue but also a social, economic, and political challenge that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders.
“India was the only high-burden, high-impact country in the South- East Asia region to report a decline in malaria cases in 2020 as compared to 2019. India witnessed 85.1% decline in malaria cases and 83.36% decline in deaths during 2015-2022.”
The Health Ministry added that there is now availability of near-real time data monitoring through an integrated health information platform (HIP-Malaria Portal) and periodic regional review meetings to keep a check on malaria growth across India.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation regional director, South-East Asia, added that countries affected by malaria in this region should accelerate the reach of high-impact tools and strategies to prevent, detect and treat malaria, with a focus on reaching the most vulnerable, ensuring that no person or population is left behind.
“Intensified efforts must be made to reach at-risk and vulnerable populations with currently available strategies and tools. Globally, children in the poorest households are five times more likely to be infected with malaria. Malaria is also more prevalent among young children whose mothers have a lower level of education and live in rural areas. Reaching these populations with available malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment is critical for achieving the global technical strategy for malaria 2016-2030 and Sustainable Development Goal targets and delivering on the promise of zero malaria for everyone, everywhere,’’ she said.