Over the past 15 years, the Indian subcontinent has seen a great reduction in the number of malaria cases from 2 million to 1.1 million in 2015.
Despite this progress, India still accounts for 58 percent of the malaria burden in South-East Asia and represents the highest burden country outside of Africa – even with issues of underreporting. In light of its malaria burden, its geographical proximity to artemisinin resistance, its potential role in producing malaria drugs (and addressing counterfeit and substandard drugs), it is clear that India has a critical role to play in eliminating malaria from Asia.
In response to this public health concern, the Indian government has endorsed the goal of eliminating the disease by 2030. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders adopted this goal at the East Asia Summit in Malaysia in 2015. Subsequently, India launched the ambitious National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in February 2016.
Elimination will require India to adopt a new long-term approach and work at the state level to increase health spending and shift the focus from malaria ‘control’ to ‘elimination’.
Through a grant from the Gates Foundation, Malaria No More is undertaking an in-depth analysis to help turn the plan into action. The assessment will include interviews with key stakeholders, as well as an deeper analysis of the political, funding and media environments necessary for the success of the plan at the national and state levels. In addition, Malaria No More is developing an investment case study to demonstrate the rationale for malaria elimination in India. Malaria No More will develop a strategy with an action plan and timeline for the coming year in support of the government and complementing the work undertaken by other partners. This will include recommendations on how to elevate malaria in the public health space and shape the policy debate, engage key decision-makers and potential champions, and leverage international champions.
Elimination will require India to adopt a new long-term approach and work at the state level to increase health spending and shift the focus from malaria “control” to “elimination.” This approach, in addition to strong coordination efforts across the national and local levels, will require engagement of health care workers and malaria-affected populations. It addition, key prevention and treatment resources must be available to test and treat all symptomatic as well as asymptomatic malaria cases.
Alere has demonstrated leadership and support for the government’s plan to eliminate malaria by 2030 and is committed to improving access to affordable malaria diagnostic tests through its manufacturing operations in Manesar, India.
For malaria elimination to succeed in India, all stakeholders will need to work together alongside the government. Malaria No More believes in the vision of a malaria free India, and we look forward to working with partners like Alere to reduce the burden of this disease and ultimately make malaria no more.
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