India improving on malaria front, but detection still poor

India's malaria surveillance mechanism detects only 8 per cent cases, finds new report

As the report has shown that India and Nigeria are the major contributors to the awful disease-Malaria at the global level.

In 2016, there were an estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria globally, compared to 446,000 estimated deaths in 2015.

"In recent years, we have made major gains in the fight against malaria", said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

Nigeria, in turn, will need around 72 million additional LLINs and faces a funding gap of US$ 690 million between now and 2020 for procurement and delivery of essential commodities alone.

At the same time, funding for malaria prevention and treatment has leveled off, reaching $2.7 billion in 2016, less than half of the 2020 target.

However India, the World Health Organization report noted, is on track for a 20 – 40 per cent reduction by 2020. Yet, according to the new report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones.

A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and global levels, resulting in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines, and other life-saving tools.

Fifteen countries, all but one of them in sub-Saharan Africa, carry 80 per cent of the global malaria burden. "And it has always been assumed, indeed it has been important that countries themselves should commit to funding malaria control".

The U.S. remains the largest worldwide source of malaria financing, giving $1 billion, in 2016. India is in the same condition as last year whereas Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Kyrgyzstan have declared malaria-free states in the year 2015 and 2016 sequentially. "We can learn from their achievements to replicate their success across the continent", said King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance. Of particular concern is that, since 2014, investments in malaria control have, on average, declined in many high-burden countries, " Dr Tedros wrote. Though the rate of ITN coverage has increased, the rate has slowed since 2014.

The United States' commitment to combatting malaria - through the President's Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - has been critical to the world's progress, representing 38% of global funding in the past year.

Health Ministers from the countries of the South Asia region, heads of country delegations, Regional Director WHO Southeast Asia Region Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, and WHO Deputy Director General Designate Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, were also present on the occasion. National-level surveys in the African region show that only about one third of children with a fever are taken to a medical provider in the public health sector.

The report also pour light on the 76 malaria endemic countries that provided data for 2010 to 2016, resistance to at least one insecticide in one malaria vector from one collection site was detected in 61 countries. Achieving that goal by 2030 in a 22-nation area stretching from Afghanistan to Vanuatu would cost around US$29 billion, according to an analysis by the Global Health Group, a think-tank at the University of California, San Francisco.

"Of this amount, 505 million ITNs were delivered in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 301 million bed nets in the preceding 3-year period (2011-2013)", said the report. And early reports suggest that malaria cases and deaths there have declines as a result.

"Meeting the global malaria targets will only be possible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria", he said.

"More investment is needed to increase the effectiveness of current tools and hasten development of new tools such as next generation insecticides, drugs and vaccines to stay ahead of rising resistance", said Dr. Altaf Lal, Senior Advisor on Global Health and Innovation, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries and RBM Partnership to End Malaria Board Member.

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