Malaria Cases Fell by 24% in India, But Burden Still High: WHO
In Africa, malaria kills a child every minute
In Africa, malaria kills a child every minute (Photo: iStock)

Malaria Cases Fell by 24% in India, But Burden Still High: WHO

India and 15 other countries in sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost 80 per cent of the malaria cases reported globally last year, according to a WHO report which notes that a whopping 1.25 billion people in India were at the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne disease.

The World Health Organization's 2018 World malaria report, however, in an encouraging note said that India was the only country to report progress in reducing its malaria cases in 2017 as compared with 2016.

It said five countries to account for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide were Nigeria (25 per cent), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), Mozambique (5 per cent), India and Uganda (4 per cent) both.

India On Track to Meet Targets

In all, 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carried almost 80 per cent of the global malaria burden. In India, 1.25 billion people in the population were at risk of malaria, the report said.

It said that targets to reduce global rates of infections and deaths from malaria were not being met.

The study reveals that while new cases fell steadily up until 2016, the number rose from 217 to 219 million in 2017. The targets set by the WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 call for a drop in malaria case incidence and death rates of at least 40 per cent by 2020.

The 10 highest burden countries in Africa reported increases in cases of malaria in 2017 compared with 2016.

Of these, Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest estimated increases, all greater than half a million cases.

In contrast, India reported three million fewer cases in the same period, a 24 decrease compared with 2016.

The report noted that while India "had made impressive gains and was on track" to meet the Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 targets, it still accounted for 4 pert cent of the global burden of malaria morbidity and 52 per cent of deaths outside of the WHO African Region.

India was among the countries that detected high treatment failure rates and responded by changing their treatment policies, it said.

The report added that India and Indonesia were on track to achieve a 20–40 per cent reduction in case incidence by 2020.

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