Saturday, 01 April 2023

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Inside Magazine

A World Sans MALARIA
Malaria has long been a major public health concern in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in South East Asia (SEA) affecting millions of people. According to a latest report on malaria from the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were approximately 5.4 million cases and 9000 deaths in the region in 2021. The SEA region has nine countries where malaria is prevalent, and their contribution to the global burden of malaria cases is two per cent. India is the main contributor to the malaria cases in the region, accounting for 82.5 per cent of them, followed by Indonesia with 15.6 per cent, and Myanmar with 1.6 per cent. These three countries were responsible for almost all of the malaria cases in the region, making up 99.7 per cent of the total estimated cases. Governments, healthcare organisations, and communities are implementing innovative strategies, technologies, and programmes that can help curb the spread of malaria. Though these efforts were hampered because of COVID-19, in 2022, the WHO South-East Asia Region renewed its commitment to eliminate malaria by 2030, with countries pledging accelerated action and greater efforts at the sub-national and community levels. Other parts of Asia also progressed well. China was declared Malaria free in June 2021, after 70 years of fighting. In its fights against malaria, Asian countries have recently announced significant investment including a $1.9 million investment in February 2023 by Japan’s GHIT Fund for the research and development of a new malaria drug, and a $1 million contribution by Singapore’s Ministry of Health to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, announced in December 2022. While observing World Malaria day on April 25, let’s explore the current status of Asia’s malaria elimination efforts, highlighting the progress made and strategies needed for a malaria-free future.


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