Malaria is swiftly gaining momentum around the world and has researchers scurrying to seek preventive measures. The disease carrying vectors are rapidly infesting all the corners of the world and are proving to be a huge menace. This largely brings health concerns to the forefront and experts have always been vocal about various precautionary measures for people to stay aware and use them to protect themselves.
However, despite awareness, India recorded six percent of the world’s new malaria cases in 2016 which stood at 216 million, according to the World Malaria Report 2017 by World Health Organization (WHO). According to the global health body, 15 countries accounted for 80 percent of all malaria cases globally in 2016. Nigeria accounted for the highest proportion of cases globally at 27 percent. Democratic Republic of Congo had 10 percent, India 6 percent and Mozambique recorded 4 percent of the global malaria cases. India had also witnessed a total of 331 malaria deaths in 2016, making it the highest in the entire Southeast Asia region. The malaria deaths in India were only less to WHO’s Africa region where the figure soared as high as 33,997 for Democratic Republic of Congo. “Odisha, the highest endemic state of India, reported an increase in cases in 2016 (to double the number in 2013). The other countries had no major outbreaks reported,” according to report. Between 2014 and 2016, substantial increases in case incidence occurred in the WHO Region of the Americas, and marginally in the WHO Southeast Asia, Western Pacific and African regions. “In 2016, 85 percent of estimated vivax malaria cases occurred in just five countries (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan),” the report said. In 2016, there were an estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria globally, compared to 446,000 estimated deaths in 2015.”Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for 99 per cent of estimated malaria cases in 2016. Outside of Africa, P. vivax is the predominant parasite in the WHO Region of the Americas, representing 64 per cent of malaria cases, and is above 30 percent in the WHO SouthEast Asia and 40 percent in the Eastern Mediterranean regions,” said the report. The report also mentions between 2014 and 2016, a total of 582 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) were reported by manufacturers as having been delivered globally. “Of this amount, 505 million ITNs were delivered in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 301 million bed nets in the preceding 3-year period (2011-2013),” said the report. The report states some of the challenges impeding countries’ abilities to stay on track and advance towards elimination include lack of sustainable and predictable international and domestic funding, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones among many others. It says in 34 of 41 high-burden countries which rely mainly on external funding for malaria programmes, the average level of funding available per person at risk in the past three years (2014-2016) reduced when compared with 2011-2013.