New Delhi: India was one of the two high burden countries that achieved a 28 per cent reduction in malaria cases in 2018, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2019 released Wednesday.
Malaria cases dropped in India by 28 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017, while there was 24 per cent decline in cases between 2016 and 2017.
Despite being the highest burden country of the South-East Asia Region, India reduced its reported cases by half as compared with 2017. Bangladesh and Thailand also reported substantial decline in reported cases, the WHO said in a statement.
Two high-burden-to-high-impact countries that achieved a significant reduction in malaria cases in 2018, as compared with the previous year, were India (2.6 million fewer cases) and Uganda (1.5 million fewer cases), the report stated.
According to the report, an estimated 6,737,000 malaria cases and 9,620 deaths due to it were reported in India in 2018. It was 9,348,000 cases and 16,310 deaths in 2017.
According to the report, India’s progress means the country no longer has the world’s fourth highest malaria burden, though it still is the only non-African country among the top 11 countries with the most malaria globally.
Setting an example for other countries to follow, the report also calls out India for being the only one of the 11 countries to increase its domestic funding during 2017-2018 to fight malaria.
“India must be applauded for its sustained effort against malaria. By aligning all the stakeholders – government, private sector and citizens – India has increased awareness and combatted the adverse socio-economic impact of malaria, which disproportionately affects the most vulnerable including pregnant women and children under five,” ‘Malaria No More India’ country director Sanjeev Gaikwad said in a statement.
“While we have come a long way, sustained focus and increased funding are crucial to boost India’s fight against malaria and ensure that India continues to lead the world and becomes malaria-free by 2030,” Gaikwad added.