Malaria can be eliminated in India, Asia Pacific region by 2030 –APLMA

May 3, 2017

The Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) is standing behind their conviction that malaria can be eliminated in India and across the whole region of Asia Pacific by the year 2030.

Malaria is endemic in India with approximately 14% of the population or 184 million people in India at high risk of malaria transmission, according to a 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) Malaria report. In 2015, there were 13 million estimated cases and 24,000 estimated deaths associated with malaria in India.

Over the past 15 years, driven by the Millennium Development Goals, Asia Pacific countries reduced the number of malaria cases and associated deaths by almost half. Building on this success, leaders in Asia Pacific agreed in 2014 on a historic pledge to eliminate Malaria by 2030.

The united effort has been extremely successful in reducing the disease’s impact but eliminating the final case of malaria is critical to sustain what has been achieved. A continued effort from political leaders of all levels will be needed to end the disease once and for all.

“We believe that we can win the fight against malaria. However, we must not lose focus in Asia and the Pacific – and particularly in India – where the malaria burden remains a significant weight on families, communities, national economies and national health systems,”Dr. Nafsiah Mboi, Leaders’ Envoy and Board Chair for APLMA and former Minister of Health of Indonesia.

With 21 malaria-endemic countries accounting for approximately 32 million cases of malaria each year and 47,000 associated deaths, Asia Pacific carries the second highest burden of the disease outside of Africa.

The intense scale-up of interventions in Asia Pacific including greater access to medicines, distribution of bed nets and better screening and diagnosis, has already averted more than 80 million cases and over 100,000 associated deaths since 2000.

However, some 2 billion people in the region remain at risk of infection. India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea bear the largest burden of the disease and the largest number of people at risk and affected. Together they account for 89% of all remaining malaria cases in the region.

Thanks to groundbreaking drug therapies and a range of preventative and control measures, the number of malaria cases has fallen significantly in recent years in most malaria-endemic countries. But growing drug resistance has raised the potential spectra of rising malaria-related deaths, serious economic impacts and human suffering.

“Drug resistant malaria is a health crisis that could drastically impact the hard-fought success achieved in the fight against this disease” said Dr. Benjamin Rolfe, APLMA’s Executive Director. “If the most important treatment for malaria becomes ineffective we will surely see a devastating rise in malaria mortality. Mostly amongst children.”

The goal of achieving an Asia Pacific region that is free of malaria by 2030 is on track – six countries including Malaysia and China are working to eliminate malaria by 2020, with 11 countries by 2025 and the full 22 endemic countries, including India, projected to eliminate malaria by 2030.


Category: Community, Features

Comments are closed.