New Delhi: As the WHO reported 331 malaria deaths in India in 2016, the highest in Southeast Asia, Health Minister J P Nadda today asserted that the country has reduced its new malaria cases by one-third, and crossed the malaria mortality reduction targets which were to be achieved by 2020.
Addressing a high-level roundtable on 'accelerating the elimination of Malaria in the South-East Asia Region', Nadda said here that with nearly three-fourth of the share of the regional burden, India's "successes" have significantly contributed to the reduction of malaria cases in the entire South-East Asia region. The minister noted that the success to combat Malaria comes against the backdrop of the political leadership's commitment and support to health programmes in India.
"The commitment to ensure health for every person in India comes from the highest office of the government. It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to see health and development reach the furthest corners of our country, and use the very latest innovations in technology and science to achieve these outcomes," Nadda said. The WHO report said that India accounted for six percent of the 216 million new cases globally. Nadda, however, said that majority of malaria cases in the country come from the bordering districts, forest and tribal areas, while most of the remaining parts of the country remain malaria free.
"Addressing malaria therefore, is not only an issue for India's aspiration of achieving universal health coverage, but also to achieve it with equity," he said reiterating the commitment to eliminate Malaria. Nadda said that focus on bordering districts and empowering local authorities with information, tools and knowledge will help in malaria reduction in India and its neighbours. The Union health minister said that India as a hub for research and science would also support malaria implementation research, as well as capacity building in health research.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report "World Malaria Report 2017" which was released today stated that only eight percent of malaria cases were diagnosed last year in India, which accounted for six percent of the 216 million new cases globally. India was third on the list of 15 countries which accounted for 80 percent of all malaria cases in the world last year, the report said. It also stated that surveillance mechanism in India was weak as it detected a mere eight percent of Malaria cases.
India also witnessed a total of 331 malaria deaths in 2016, making it the highest number of deaths due to the disease in Southeast Asia region. Nadda today launched a book "Addressing the challenge of controlling malaria across international borderlines" and unveiled the Regional Action Plan (2017-2030). The three-day ministerial roundtable is in consonance with the United Nations Assembly Resolution on consolidation and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria.