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World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. The Day was instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States during the 2007 World Health Assembly.

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors." There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species - P. falciparum and P. vivax - pose the greatest threat.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that continues to have a devastating impact on the health and livelihood of people around the world.

In 2020, there were an estimated 241 million new cases of malaria and 627 000 malaria-related deaths in 85 countries. More than two thirds of deaths were among children under the age of 5 living in the WHO African Region.

Symptoms

Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms - fever, headache, and chills - may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.

Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria.

In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.

Prevention

Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across the community.

Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission. The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).

Elimination

Malaria elimination is defined as the interruption of local transmission of a specified malaria parasite species in a defined geographical area as a result of deliberate activities. Continued measures are required to prevent re-establishment of transmission.

Malaria eradication is defined as the permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of malaria infection caused by human malaria parasites as a result of deliberate activities. Interventions are no longer required once eradication has been achieved.

Countries that have achieved at least 3 consecutive years of 0 local cases of malaria are eligible to apply for the WHO certification of malaria elimination. Globally, 40 countries and territories have been granted a malaria-free certification from WHO – including, most recently, El Salvador (2021), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), Paraguay (2018) and Uzbekistan (2018).

Theme for 2022 - Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives

World Malaria Day 2022 will be marked under the theme “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.” No single tool that is available today will solve the problem of malaria.

Key messages

  • Step up innovation - No single tool that is available today will solve the problem of malaria.  Add your voice to those calling for investments that bring new vector control approaches, diagnostics, antimalarial medicines and other tools to speed the pace of progress against malaria.
  • Expand access to the tools we have now - There is an urgent need to make more effective use of currently available tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria, particularly in countries hardest hit by malaria. 
  • Expand the use of RTS,S – the first malaria vaccine - WHO recommends expanded use of the vaccine among children living in areas with moderate and high malaria transmission. If implemented broadly, the vaccine could save tens of thousands of lives each year. 
  • Strengthen country ownership - Government stewardship of malaria responses is essential, together with the engagement and participation of affected communities.
  • Ensure resilient and equitable health systems - Progress against malaria depends on strong health systems that are adequately funded and equipped to deliver quality health care to all.
  • Tailor responses to the local setting -WHO’s updated malaria strategy emphasizes the need for carefully tailored prevention, diagnostic and treatment approaches, informed by local data and disease patterns.
  • Improve surveillance systems -Strong surveillance is the cornerstone of malaria programme  planning; it helps countries identify gaps in coverage of control tools and take action based on the data received. 

Malaria elimination certification at a glance

Certification of malaria elimination is the official recognition by WHO of a country’s malaria-free status. WHO grants this certification when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past 3 consecutive years.

A country must also demonstrate the capacity to prevent the re-establishment of malaria transmission. A national surveillance system capable of rapidly detecting and responding to malaria cases (if they were occurring) must be operational, together with an appropriate programme to prevent re-establishment of transmission. 

Malaria vaccine

Source : WHO

Malaria control in India

National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the central nodal agency for the
prevention and control of Vector Borne Diseases in India.

At present, the Monitoring & Evaluation reports of Malaria Elimination Program are compiled physically from the grass root levels of the health system, in stipulated formats and sent to NVBDCP for National level compilation and necessary action. This process consumes lot of time & energy for physical delivery of the state’s data to NVBDCP, which is usually around one month. For achieving online and real-time reporting in Malaria Elimination Program, two states were selected for pilot testing of the Web-based Malaria MIS. This application consists of information on Malaria case management, Vector Control, Reports,
Dashboard and Maps (using Google features). In the initial stages of this initiative, village-wise data entry is done by the ground level field workers like ANM, MPHW, etc.,

For more details, click here.

Related resources

  1. National Center for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
  2. World malaria report 2021

Last Modified : 4/26/2022



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