- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For prelims: malaria- free status, criteria, causes of the disease and treatment.
For mains: concerns over the spread of the disease and measures needed to prevent its spread.
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Algeria and Argentina as malaria-free, with no recorded cases of indigenous transmission of the disease since 2013 and 2010 respectively.
While Algeria is the second African country to be officially recognised as malaria-free, after Mauritius (certified in 1973), Argentina is the second country in the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018.
Contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers. It accounted for an estimated 219 million cases from 87 countries and over 400,000 related deaths in 2017. Over 60% of fatalities were among children under five years, and caused 266,000 of all malaria deaths worldwide, according to WHO’s World malaria report 2018.
With 92 per cent of malaria cases and 93 per cent of malaria deaths recorded from Africa, the region had a high share of the global malaria burden in 2017. Four countries in the continent accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), Mozambique (five per cent), and Uganda (four per cent).
To receive WHO certification, a country has to prove that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years.
A total of 36 countries and territories have received this WHO certification. The last case of indigenous malaria was reported from Algeria in 2013 and Argentina in 2010. The certificates will be presented on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly.
caused by the infectious Plasmodium
Spread: Female Anophelesmosquitoes deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host.
Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) were in sub-Saharan African.
World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease: Mosquirix:
RTS,S, known by its trade name Mosquirix, uses antibodies to target proteins presented by sporozoites (such as the circumsporozoite protein of falciparum)to enhance the immune system and help prevent the parasite from infecting the liver.
Mosquirix is also engineered using a hepatitis B viral protein and a chemical adjuvant to further boost the immune response for enhanced effectiveness.
India’s efforts in this regard:
- India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.
- At the East Asia Summit in 2015, India pledged to eliminate the disease by 2030. Following this public declaration, India launched the five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination. This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:
Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative is significant. The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.
The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).
Sources: the Hindu.