Odisha’s Malaria Eradication Initiative Can Be Emulated Nationwide: Experts

New Delhi: A comprehensive malaria eradication programme in Odisha which registered an 85 per cent decline in average monthly malaria cases, could soon be replicated across the country.

Experts at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) have called for emulating the Odisha success across the country which has seen a rapid decline in malaria related cases. In 2018, the cases came down to 3.4 lakh, while it was 8.4 lakh and 11 lakh in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

The malaria control approach project, termed ‘Comprehensive Case Management Programme (CCMP)’, was started in four districts of Odisha leading to 47 per cent decline in malaria cases between 2015 and 2017.

CCMP, was initially implemented in four districts of the state — Angul, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal and Dolangir — led to a sharp decline in malaria cases over five years through a control approach that involved mass screening and comprehensive case management.

The project was a collaboration between the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha. It was funded by the Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva.

The CCMP was then implemented across 22 districts of Odisha under an initiative called Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN). WHO’s ‘Test-Treat-Track’ strategy, that urges malaria-endemic countries to scale up diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance for malaria, was also implemented.

Between 2017 and 2018, Odisha recorded 85 per cent decline in malaria cases, as result of which India’s burden of the disease decreased by almost 50 per cent, Dr Anup Anvikar, a scientist at ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, said.

A research paper, ‘Improved access to early diagnosis and complete treatment of malaria in Odisha, India’, on the outcome of the project was published in the PLOS ONE journal on Wednesday.

The programme provided universal access to malaria diagnosis and treatment, and improved the quality of services and surveillance, he said.

Dr Neena Valecha, Director, ICMR-NIMR termed CCMP as a living laboratory that helped in understanding the true picture of malaria in the study areas. It received technical and financial support from Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva, the NVBDCP and WHO.

“There is a need to reach out to people in remote areas in order to control malaria. The Government of India has already distributed Rs 4 crore long-lasting insecticide nets for malaria control. The country has seen a drastic decline in the number of malaria cases and deaths last year,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

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