Asian Institute of Public Health celebrates “World Malaria Day” World Malaria Day offers an annual opportunity to highlight advances in malaria control and to commit to continued investment and action to accelerate progress against this deadly disease. The theme for 2016 is “End Malaria for Good”.
The Asian Institute of Public Health in Bhubaneswar and its Sundargarh district branch (Ispat General Hospital-AIPH Center for Translational Research), in Rourkela celebrated the World Malaria Day on 25th April 2016. Dr.B.S.Das, an eminent malariologist and recipient of Indian Council of Medical Research award for his pioneering research in malaria spoke on the occasion to invited guests and students on this occasion in Bhubaneswar.Sri K C Dash Director, Jana SikshanSanthan as well as IGH senior deputy director Dr. P.K Kar and AIPH Head of Social Pediatrics, and Minority Health Dr. R.N. Satpathy participated in Rourkela site where many physicians, representatives of local NGOs, and a large number of trained field personnel participated. AIPH principals have been working on various clinical and research aspects of adult and pediatric malaria during the last 30 years in the state. Recently, research activities conducted by AIPH published in PLOS ONE using 10 years data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program was shared with the participants. The state annual malaria incidence declined from 10.82/1000 to 5.28/1000 during 2003–2013. However, the annual blood examination rate remained almost unchanged from 11.25% to 11.77%. The key informants of the study revealed that intensification of anti-malaria activities in 2008 led to a more rapid decline in malaria incidence during 2009–2013 as compared to that in 2003–2007.
Malaria was one of the greatest killers of the mankind in 20th century. World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the Global Malaria Eradication Programme (GMEP) in 1955 to eliminate malaria from the world. Use of antimalarial drug chloroquine to eliminate malaria parasites and DDT to reduce mosquito viability resulted in elimination of malaria from 37 countries, mostly from Europe and North America. In contrast, in most of the resource poor countries, where malaria burden was high, efforts to eliminate malaria was abandoned by late 1960s because of development of resistance of malaria parasites to chloroquine and mosquitoes to DDT. This resulted in resurgence of malaria in Africa, South East Asia, and Latin American countries. Realising the gravity of problem, WHO launched the“Roll Back Malaria” programme in 1998.
The success of “Roll Back Malaria” programme was noticed in subsequent years. According to WHO’s "World malaria report 2015", there has been a major decline in global malaria cases and deaths since 2000. There has been an overall decrease by 60 percent between 2000 and 2015, and 57 countries reduced malaria cases by at least 75 percent. Efforts to prevent malaria in pregnancy alone have averted 94,000 newborn deaths between 2009 and 2012. However, significant challenges continue to remain with about 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths.
WHO aims at a strategy to dramatically lower the global malaria burden over the next 15 years. The timeline of 2016-2030 is aligned with the "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development", the new global development framework endorsed by all UN Member States. To achieve this, robust financial investment, political will, and more importantly, innovation are essential. There has to be continued research for development of new solutions and strategies such as development of next-generation antimalarial drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines to mitigate the threat of drug and insecticide resistance.If we do not lose focus, we can reduce malaria death rates by 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries, and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free as proposed by the U.S. said Dr. B. S Das and pledged full institutional commitment from AIPH in this endeavour.