According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 14 million more malaria cases and 69,000 more deaths were recorded in 2020 than in 2020, and India was the only high-burden country to maintain a reduction in the disease burden. report good.
Although it said the rate of decline of the disease in India was slower than before the pandemic, the country still shares more than 80 percent of Southeast Asia’s malaria burden.
The World Malaria Report 2021 brought out by WHO highlighted that malaria continues to wreak havoc on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
It also highlighted the large gap in malaria funding as demand to keep progress increased to $6.8 billion last year, with only a small increase in malaria funding.
In the South-East Asia region, India’s per capita malaria funding is lower than neighboring countries at risk, the report said.
“An estimated 14 million more cases and 69,000 more deaths were due to malaria during 2020 than in 2019. India was the only high-burden country to record progress while maintaining a reduction in the malaria burden between 2019 and 2020. The rate of decline was slower than before the pandemic,” the WHO report said.
“Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global gains against malaria had waned,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.
The World Malaria Report 2021 said that along with plateauing investments, sharp declines in malaria testing and gaps in mosquito control measures contributed to thwarting progress in high-burden countries.
Of the 31 countries that planned insecticide-treated mosquito net campaigns in 2020, only 18 completed their campaigns by the end of that year.
Devastated by the pandemic, India managed to meet only 50 per cent of its planned distribution of long-lasting insecticide nets, and other measures such as indoor residual spraying were also reported to be deficient during 2020, the report said.
Dr Kaushik Sarkar, director of the Institute for Malaria and Climate Solutions and in-charge of Malaria No More, said: “The figures and trends are deeply concerning as the most malaria-affected countries have seen a reversal in gains over the past year.” India.
“India, a trendsetter in the world’s progress against malaria in recent years, has maintained a reduction in malaria cases. But progress has plateaued with pandemic-induced disruption from India’s robust COVID surveillance infrastructure and febrile diseases such as malaria. The ability to deal reflects the urgency of using it,” he said.
Also, India should focus on bridging the gap between demand and supply of vector control equipment, Dr Sarkar said.
“With greater self-reliance and thrifty innovations, it is time that the country transforms the next five years in the fight against malaria to the next five years in the fight against malaria,” he said.
The WHO report said that despite the strong impact of the pandemic, heroic efforts by countries, partners and community health workers to use innovative strategies, strong political will and new funding were key to avoiding the worst-case scenario.
Despite the challenges, countries and partners ensured that life-saving insecticide-treated net distribution programs proceed in 2020. More than 33 million children also arrived with seasonal malaria chemoprevention, more than ever before.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)