‘Cases of this ailment in the State have declined by 74% over the past three years’
Shillong: A regional review meeting of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) supported states for the Intensified Malaria Elimination Project (IMEP) under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) was held at Jiva Resort, Sohra from November 14 to 16. The main objective of the meeting was to review the State-wise performance and activities including district-wise implementation of all the northeastern States and the various achievements made so far.
Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare AL Hek was the chief guest at the inaugural session of the meeting. Representatives from all the northeastern States attended the three-day meeting.
Addressing the inaugural function, Hek said that the entire team present at the meeting were the main driving force and the true ambassadors in the fight against the eradication of malaria.
He stressed that through the active participation of all the people involved and present at the review meeting, they can effectively come up with various solutions to further improve the programme’s performance and to achieve the goal of total malaria elimination by 2030.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Avdhesh Kumar, Additional Director, NVBDCP, Government of India, said that according to the World Malaria Report of 2018, most cases of malaria in the world is contributed by sub-Saharan African countries and India stands at number four in the world with regards to prevalence of malaria. However, India is the only country which showed a decline of 24 per cent in malaria cases.
Looking at the national scenario, he informed that there is a reversal in the trend of malaria cases in the country. In previous years, the northeastern States were contributing more cases of malaria in the country. However now, the remaining States of the country have a higher prevalence of malaria cases than the northeastern States. Further, Meghalaya is one of the best performing States when it comes to malaria intervention and control programmes.
Meghalaya has been selected as a model State for programme implementation in the 6th National Summit on good, replicable practices and innovations in public health care system in India. Malaria cases in Meghalaya have declined by 74 per cent over the past 3 years. However, he stressed that, we should not be complacent. In order to eliminate malaria from our country, we need to further intensify our efforts and programmes.
Presenting the scenario of the malaria programme in Meghalaya, Dr R Lyngdoh, Deputy Director Health Services (MI)-cum-State Project Officer, NVBDCP, Meghalaya, said that it is a known fact that malaria is a major public health problem in the State. However, with continuous interventions and intensified efforts of the state office along with the support received from GFATM, she informed that the State is now finally moving from being a Category 3 State which is at the Intensified Control Phase to Category 2 which is the Pre Elimination phase. She said that the malaria elimination in Meghalaya will be carried out in a phase manner taking API (Annual Parasitic Incidence) as the primary criteria.