The global figures
• The report shows that there were 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 than in 2015.
• The estimated global tally of malaria deaths reached 445,000 in 2016 compared to 446,000 the previous year.
• The African Region continues to bear an estimated 90% of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide.
• About 80% of the deaths were accounted for by 15 countries, namely India and 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
India specific findings
• India accounts for 6% of global malaria cases and 7% of the total deaths are caused by it.
• The WHO figures also suggest that India is unlikely to reduce its case burden beyond 40% by 2020.
• Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan achieved malaria-free status in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Major impediments in eliminating malaria front in India are:
1.Weak surveillance system: India and Nigeria were able to detect only 8% and 16% of cases respectively by using their detection system.
• These two are major contributors to the global burden of malaria.
2. Resistance to chloroquine: In India, cases of plasmodium vivax were also traced.
• It is the milder cousin of the p. Falciparum.
• This can be due be resistance to chloroquine which is the first line treatment to p. vivax infections.
3. Low funding and resistance: Due to low funding per person at risk and resistance to certain frontline insecticides, India is only expected to achieve a 20%-40% reduction.
• WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has called for reductions of at least 40% in malaria cases incidence and mortality rates by the year 2020.
Problem in achieving the target
• According to the latest malaria report, the world is not on track to reach these critical milestones.
• A major problem is insufficient funding at both domestic and international levels.
• Around US$ 2.7 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally in 2016.
• This is well below to meet the targets of WHO global malaria strategy.
• This results in major gaps in coverage of insecticide-treated nets, medicines and other life-saving tools.
• In most malaria-affected countries, the most common and effective ways to prevent malarial infection are the followings:
1 Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net (ITN)
2 Spraying the inside walls of homes with insecticides
3 Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the most effective in controlling malarial cases
A wake-up call
• World is at the crossroads in the response to malaria.
• WHO is hoping that this report will serve as a wake-up call for the global health communities. Meeting the global malaria targets will only be possible through greater investment and expanded coverage of core tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
• Robust financing for the research and development of new tools is equally critical.