India to see decrease in malaria cases: WHO

United Nations: India, the country most affected by malaria in the South east Asian region, is projected to see a decrease of 50-75 per cent in malaria case incidence by 2015, a report by the World Health Organisation said.

The WHO`s World Malaria Report 2012 said a concerted effort by endemic countries, donors and global malaria partners during the past decade has led to strengthened malaria control around the world.

It however warned that a significant slowdown in global funding of anti-malaria campaigns threatens to roll back the gains made against the preventable mosquito-borne disease over the last 10 years.

In the south-east Asia Region, Bhutan, Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand have registered decreases of 75 per cent or more in the incidence of microscopically confirmed malaria incidence rates between 2000 and 2011.

"India, the country with the highest number of cases in the region, is projected to achieve decreases of 50-75 per cent in malaria case incidence by 2015," it said.

India, Nepal and Thailand could also potentially move from the "control" to the "pre-elimination" phase by continuing their progress, assuring that "all malaria cases are laboratory confirmed and including the private sector in the health reporting system."

India has been taking measures like providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and long-lasting insecticidal nets in affected areas.

The number of patients tested by microscopic examination increased to a peak of 171 million in 2011, with India accounting for over 108 million blood slide examinations.

Outside Africa, 54 million ITNs were distributed during 2009-2011, with six countries accounting for 70 per cent of the total - India 18.4 million, Indonesia 6.5 million, Afghanistan 4.6 million, Myanmar 3.6 million, Philippines three million and China 2.2 million.

According to the report, 50 countries around the world are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75 per cent by 2015, in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets.

However, these nations only represent three per cent or seven million of the malaria cases that were estimated to have occurred in 2000, the benchmark against which progress is measured.

The report indicates that international funding for malaria appears to have reached a plateau well below the level required to reach the health- related Millennium Development Goals and other internationally-agreed global malaria targets.

An estimated USD 5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions in the 99 countries with on-going malaria transmission.

While many countries have increased domestic financing for malaria control, the total available global funding remained at USD 2.3 billion in 201, less than half of what is needed.

"This means that millions of people living in highly endemic areas continue to lack access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment," the report said.

"Efforts to prevent the emergence and spread of parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides are also constrained by inadequate funding," it said.

Malaria struck an estimated 219 million people globally in 2010, killing about 660,000, mostly children under five years of age, WHO said.

In 2011, 2.15 million parasitologically confirmed malaria cases were reported, with three countries accounting for 95 per cent of confirmed cases - India (61 per cent), Myanmar (22 per cent) and Indonesia (12 per cent).

While Congo and Nigeria account for over 40 per cent of the estimated total of malaria deaths globally, Congo, India and Nigeria account for 40 per cent of estimated malaria cases.

"If we fail to come together and urgently resolve the shortfall, there will be no averting a humanitarian crisis," UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers said.


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