World Malaria Day is celebrated on April 25 every year to promote actions to put an end to malaria. World Health Organization (WHO) continues to call for greater investment and expanded coverage of proven tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. It was instituted by WHO Member States during the World Health Assembly of 2007.
This year’s World Malaria Day theme is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives”. The theme draws the attention to the crucial role innovation plays in helping to achieve global malaria elimination goals.
Though different measures are being used globally to control malaria, but no single tool is sufficient to solve the problem of malaria. Innovating new tools in different fields including vector control interventions and insecticides, improved diagnostics, and more effective antimalarial medicines and other tools is essential to achieve global elimination targets.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. About 241 million cases of malaria and 627 000 deaths were reported globally in 2022. The WHO African Region continues to report a high share of the global malaria burden. In 2020, the region accounted for 95% of all malaria cases and 96% of deaths.
Whereas, the WHO South-East Asia Region showed a sharp decline in malaria cases and accounted for about 2% (5 million in 2020) of malaria cases globally. In India malaria cases have consistently declined from 2.09 million to 0.19 million during 2001 to 2020.
Malaria Elimination in India
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched the National Framework for Malaria Elimination 2016-2030 in February 2016 and the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-2022 in July 2017. India has a vision of a malaria free country by 2027 and elimination by 2030. National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control is the nodal centre for implementing the programmes for malaria elimination.
On 6 October 2021, WHO has recommended wide spread use of the RTS,S/AS01(RTS,S) malaria vaccine for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with moderate to high transmission. RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) is a vaccine that acts against Plasmodium Falciparum.
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