India shows progressive signs to eradicate malaria cases

Data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme suggests a 50% decline in malaria cases in India in 2018

Malaria, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, 50% decline, Malaria cases in India, Malaria cases, Asia-Pacific launch, Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers, Lancet Commission, Sir Richard Feachem, Global Health Group, Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore, Timor-Leste

Asia-Pacific has seen remarkable success in its fight against malaria. The recent East Asia Summits saw the regions’ Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers reaffirm resolve to eliminate the disease by 2030. The commitment and new resources have led to plummeting malaria incidence and death rates across the region.

Building on this success, global experts now believe that we can eradicate the disease from the world by 2050, according to a new report by The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication.
The Asia-Pacific launch of the Commission's seminal report was held today at the National University of Singapore. The report synthesizes existing evidence with new epidemiological and financial analyses to demonstrate that – with the right tools, strategies, and sufficient funding – eradication of the disease is possible within a generation. Authored by 41 of the world’s leading malariologists, biomedical scientists, economists, and health policy experts, the Commission’s report is the first peer-reviewed, academic document of its kind.

“For too long, malaria eradication has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050,” said Sir Richard Feachem, Co-chair of The Lancet Commission on malaria eradication and Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

While parts of the world have seen a recent resurgence of malaria cases, Asia-Pacific continues to show encouraging signs of progress. Between 2016 and 2017, India alone achieved a 3 million (24%) drop in cases—the only country among 11 high-burden countries to report a reduction in cases.  Many countries once plagued by malaria, including Singapore and Sri Lanka, have eliminated malaria, and momentum seems to be building. China, Malaysia, and Timor-Leste recently reported zero cases of indigenous malaria, and Bhutan and Nepal are on the cusp of elimination.

“The expertise and technology to eradicate malaria are now available here in the region. Whether we succeed is actually a matter of political will.” said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. “Countries like Singapore that have eliminated malaria are supporting their peers. The experience gained in the Asian elimination journey can support the effort to eradicate malaria globally.”