Although, the Union Health Minister, J P Nadda today stated that India has reduced its new malaria cases by one third, and even crossed the malaria mortality targets of 2020 a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests otherwise.
The report released by the WHO on Wednesday stated that India is still struggling to eliminate the disease. According to its report for the world, India shared 6 per cent of total malaria burden. It said that 15 countries accounted for 80 per cent of all malaria cases in the world of which, Nigeria amounted for 27 per cent. Followed by Democratic Congo sharing 10 per cent, India 6 per cent and Mozambique recorded 4 per cent.
In 2016, India witnessed a total of 331 malaria deaths in 2016, making it the highest in the entire Southeast Asia. ‘The malaria deaths in India were only less to WHO’s Africa region where the figure soared as high as 33,997 for Democratic Republic of Congo,’ it read.
However, doctors in the city told My Medical Mantra that the burden of malaria is the country is not that high currently.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Vasant Nagvekar Infectious disease expert, said, “If you ask me, I think malaria cases are coming down in the past three years. It’s not that big a threat now. In fact, the bigger threat now is dengue and chikungunya. The government has been doing a wonderful job when it comes to malaria. But again, the larger responsibility of keeping the surroundings clean is on the people. This will avoid any such disease.”
The report interestingly spoke about a weak surveillance system. ‘Countries with weak malaria surveillance systems include India and Nigeria, two major contributors to the global burden of malaria, with 8% and 16% of cases, respectively, detected by the surveillance system’ it stated.
“Some delay in the diagnosis does happen, which results in delayed treatment. But this is because a test in certain people doesn’t reveal malaria. Also, one problem is that of people trying to self-medicate,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, Infectious disease expert.