World Malaria Day

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    • World Malaria Day is being observed on 25th April.

    World Malaria Day

    • It is an international observance commemorated every year to recognize global efforts to control malaria.
    • Theme –Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”.
    • World Malaria Day was first held in 2008. It was developed from Africa Malaria Day.
    • WHO officially endorses disease-specific global awareness days for only four diseases namely, HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Hepatitis.

    Malaria 

    • Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites (Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale) that are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
    • In the human body, parasites initially multiply in liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs).
    • There are 5 Plasmodium parasite species that cause malaria in humans and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
    • It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America and Asia.
    • It is preventable and curable.
    • Malaria symptoms include high fever, chills, headache and other flu-like symptoms.
    • Iinfants, children under 5 years, pregnant women, travelers and people with HIV or AIDS are at higher risk of severe infection.

    India’s Malaria Burden

    • In 2021, India accounted for 79% of all malaria cases in Southeast Asia, according to the World Malaria Report 2022, released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • India also accounted for about 83% of all malaria deaths in the region.

    Critical challenges on road to elimination

    • Disruptions due to COVID, potential effects of climate change, humanitarian crisis, health system shortfall, and limited donor funding are some of the challenges in combating malaria.
    • Absence of private sector in the fight, hidden malaria burden, lack of intersectoral action, exclusion of private health providers (local/traditional healers), and lax behaviour change communication.

    Malaria Vaccines

    • RTS,S:
      • RTS,S (branded as Mosquirix) reduces the risk of malaria by nearly 40%.
      • It trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite
      • Bharat Biotech, based in Hyderabad, has been granted a licence to manufacture this vaccine.
    • R21:
      • R21, otherwise referred to as Matrix-M malaria vaccine, is the second vaccine ever developed for a disease (NOT APPROVED BY WHO YET)
      • Ghana and Nigeria have granted approval
      • manufactured by SII (Serum Institute of India), world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

    Initiatives  

    • WHO’s Initiatives: 
      • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.
      • The WHO’s Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 aims to reduce malaria case incidence and mortality rates by at least 40% by 2020, at least 75% by 2025 and at least 90% by 2030 against a 2015 baseline.
      • WHO has initiated the High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India. 
    • India’s Initiatives:
      • National Framework for Malaria Elimination (2016-2030)- India’s vision to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030.
      • 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
      • The Health Ministry has also initiated a joint action plan with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for malaria elimination in tribal areas.
      • Real time data monitoring through an integrated health information platform (HIP-Malaria Portal).

    Source: IE