World Malaria Report 2018 – India to End Epidemic by 2030
World Malaria Report 2018 has shown that progress against the disease has stalled amid a scaling-down of significant investments. The data reveals worrying trends in the fight against malaria as the cases of malaria in 2017 increased globally to 219 million from 217 million in 2016 and 11 countries carry 70% of the global burden. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and India will now be targeted by a World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign.
The World malaria report, based on information received from national malaria control programmes and other partners in endemic countries, released on 19 November 2018 by WHO, tracks investments in malaria programmes and research as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance; and includes dedicated chapters on malaria elimination and on key threats in the fight against malaria. The report published annually provides a comprehensive update on global and regional malaria data and trends.
- According to the 2018 report there were an estimated 435000 deaths from malaria globally in 2017 as compared to 451000 estimated deaths in 2016 and 607000 in 2010.
- Children aged less than 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. In 2017, they accounted for 61% (266000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
- An estimated US$ 3.1 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally by governments of malaria endemic countries and international partners in 2017, i.e., an amount slighter higher than the figure reported for 2016.
- The funding for malaria has remained relatively stable since 2010, the level of investment in 2017 is far from what is required to reach the first 2 milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for Malaria 2016-2030adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015; that is, a reduction of at least 40% in malaria case incidence and mortality rates globally by 2020, compared with 2015 levels.
- To reach the GTS 2030 targets, it is estimated that annual malaria funding will need to increase to at least US$ 6.6 billion per year by 2020.
However, the World Malaria Report 2018 highlights a sharp drop in the number of cases in Odisha – one of the most endemic states of India, and further notes that:
- India’s record offers great promise in the quest to cut the number of new cases and deaths globally by at least 40% by 2020, and to end the epidemic by 2030.
- India has suffered from a major burden of malaria for decades with high levels of morbidity and death.
- India’s declining trend of the scourge shows that sustained public health action can achieve good results.
- Malaria cases in Odisha (formerly Orissa) have been coming down steadily since 2003, with a marked reduction since 2008.
- There was a reduction in malaria cases by half in 2017 as compared to the same study period in 2016.
- In Odisha investments made in recruiting accredited social health workers and large-scale distribution of insecticide-treated bed-nets, together with strategies to encourage health-seeking behaviour have paid off.
- Odisha experience with using public health education as a tool and reaching out to remote populations with advice needs to be replicated in eliminating malaria in other states, which have a higher burden of the disease, such as Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.