World Malaria Report 2021: WHO

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    Context

    • Global efforts to tackle malaria suffered due to the COVID-19 in 2020, according to the World Malaria Report 2021.

    World Malaria Report

    • The World Health Organization releases the World Malaria Report every year.
    • It provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of trends in malaria control and elimination across the globe.
    • The 2021 report is based on information received from malaria-endemic countries in all WHO regions.

    Major Findings 

    • Total Cases and Deaths: There were an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020. 
      • This represents about 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, and 69 000 more deaths
      • Causes: Approximately two-thirds of these additional deaths (47 000) were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the pandemic.
    •  Most of the increase came from countries in the WHO African Region
      • Six countries — Nigeria (27 per cent); the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12 per cent); Uganda (5%); Mozambique (4%); Angola (3.4%) and Burkina Faso (3.4%) — accounted for about 55 per cent of all cases globally.
    • India accounted for 83 per cent of cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region.
    • Sri Lanka was certified malaria-free in 2016 and remains malaria-free.
      • China and El Salvador were certified by WHO as malaria-free in 2021, and the Islamic Republic of Iran attained 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases in 2020.

    Issue 

    • If expeditious action is not taken, the world is in danger of seeing an immediate resurgence of the disease, particularly in Africa.

    WHO Updated Strategy 

    • The WHO updated the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 this year, incorporating lessons learned from the global malaria response during 2016–2020.
    • WHO’s malaria strategy called for tailoring malaria responses to local settings, harnessing innovation, strengthening health systems and ensuring robust global malaria funding.
    • Reaching the 2030 goals of the WHO malaria strategy, including a 90% reduction in global malaria incidence and mortality rates by 2030, will require new approaches, new tools and the better implementation of existing ones.
    • Meeting global targets will also require robust funding. 

    Malaria

    • It is a mosquito-borne blood disease caused by plasmodium protozoa.
      • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

    Courtesy: IndiaToday

    • Disease Prevalence
      • It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America as well as Asia.
    • Symptoms
    • Fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness.
    • Prevention and Cure
      • It is preventable as well as curable but can be fatal in case of late or no treatment.
      • Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission.
      • Antimalarial medicines are used to prevent malaria e.g. Chemoprophylaxis, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT).
      • Recent developments: In October 2021, WHO recommended RTS, S for children living in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.
        •  RTS, S is the first vaccine ever to be recommended by WHO against a human parasite. 

    Initiatives related to Malaria

    • Initiatives of WHO
      • Celebration of World Malaria Day on 25th April every year. 
        • The 2021 theme is “Reaching the Zero Malaria target”.
      • ‘E-2025 Initiative’
        • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.
    • Indian Initiatives
      • 5 year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination
        • Launched in 2017
        • It shifted focus from Malaria control to elimination.
        • It provided a roadmap to end malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
      • Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India)
        • Established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
        • It is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control.

    Source: DTE