Malaria will soon be a reportable disease in India

  • Malaria is on track to become a notifiable disease in India, requiring cases to be reported to government authorities by law. Why is this in the news?
  • The move is part of India’s goal of becoming malaria-free by 2027 and eliminating the illness entirely by 2030.

Malaria is a major threat in India.

  • In India, 80% of malaria infections occur in the 200 high-risk districts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and the seven north-eastern states, which are home to 20% of the population.
  • Cases and deaths are substantially greater than recorded since less than half of those affected reach a clinic or hospital.

What is Notifiable Disease?

  • A notifiable disease is one that must be reported to government authorities by law.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India maintains a list of notifiable diseases as part of the National Health Mission.
  • This is done to track the spread of the disease and to implement the required control and prevention measures.
  • Notifiable illness reporting is critical for public health surveillance and outbreak response.

Malaria Is a Reportable Disease

  • Malaria is currently a reportable disease in 33 Indian states and union territories.
  • Malaria is being added to the list of notifiable diseases in Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Meghalaya.

Other measures to curb malaria

  • Malaria Elimination Programme: To eliminate malaria from India by 2030, the government has created the National Framework for Malaria Elimination in India 2016-2030.
  • Combined Action Plan: To eliminate malaria in tribal communities, the Health Ministry has launched a combined action plan with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. This initiative intends to eliminate malaria cases in tribal regions, which are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
  • HIP-Malaria Portal: To keep malaria at bay across India, the Ministry has made near-real-time data monitoring available through an integrated health information platform and monthly regional review meetings.

So far, vaccines have been created.

  • The World Health Organisation has approved the distribution of two first-generation malaria vaccines, RTS,S and R21, in high-transmission African countries.
  • The RTS,S vaccine will be manufactured by Bharat Biotech, an Indian business, with adjuvant given by GSK.
  • Scientists at Oxford University created the R21 vaccine, which has demonstrated good outcomes in phase 2 clinical testing and has been approved by regulatory authorities in Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Scientists at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi have created and manufactured two experimental blood-stage malaria vaccines, one of which has completed Phase I clinical testing.
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