Malaria can be eliminated from India and the Asia Pacific region by 2030, a regional alliance of 19 countries to fight the endemic mosquito-borne infectious disease said today on the occasion of ‘World Malaria Day’. The Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) said there were 13 million estimated cases and 24,000 estimated deaths associated with malaria in India in 2015. Malaria remains endemic in India with approximately 14 per cent of the population, or 184 million people, at high risk of malaria transmission, according to a 2016 World Health Organisation Malaria report. “We believe that we can win the fight against malaria. However, we must not lose focus in Asia and the Pacific – and particularly in India – where the malaria burden remains a significant weight on families, communities, national economies and national health systems,” said Dr Nafsiah Mboi, Leaders’ Envoy and Board Chair for
However, we must not lose focus in Asia and the Pacific – and particularly in India – where the malaria burden remains a significant weight on families, communities, national economies and national health systems,” said Dr Nafsiah Mboi, Leaders’ Envoy and Board Chair for APLMA and former Minister of Health of Indonesia.
Over the past 15 years, driven by the Millennium Development Goals, Asia and the Pacific countries reduced the number of malaria cases and associated deaths by almost half. Building on this success, leaders in Asia and the Pacific agreed in 2014 on a historic pledge to eliminate Malaria by 2030. With 21 malaria-endemic countries accounting for approximately 32 million cases of malaria each year and 47,000 associated deaths, Asia and the Pacific carries the second highest burden of the disease outside of Africa.
“Drug-resistant malaria is a health crisis that could drastically impact the hard-fought success achieved in the fight against this disease. If the most important treatment for malaria becomes ineffective, we will surely see a devastating rise in malaria mortality, mostly among children,” said Dr Benjamin Rolfe, APLMA’s Executive Director.
APLMA is an alliance of 19 Asian and Pacific heads of government, representing over half the world’s population.
Formed in 2013 at the East Asia Summit in Brunei due to concerns over the rising risk of drug resistance, the goal of the Alliance is a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030. The Alliance works to catalyse and coordinate regional action against malaria and improve health security in the region.
Within Asia-Pacific, six countries including Malaysia and China are working to eliminate malaria by 2020, with 11 countries by 2025 and the full 22 endemic countries, including India, projected to eliminate malaria by 2030.
According to latest estimates, the Intense scale-up of interventions in Asia and the Pacific, including greater access to medicines, distribution of bed nets and better screening and diagnosis, has already averted more than 80 million cases and over 100,000 associated deaths since 2000. However, some two billion people in the region remain at risk of infection. India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea bear the largest burden of the disease and the largest number of people at risk and affected. Together they account for 89 per cent of all remaining malaria cases in the region.