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TelanganaTelangana's fight against malaria on track

Telangana’s fight against malaria on track

Published: 7th Sep 2021 12:20 am

Hyderabad: Despite challenges from the Covid pandemic, Telangana is on track to achieve complete elimination of malaria in the next two years.

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Inter-sectorial collaboration involving public healthcare facilities, municipalities and Panchayat department taken up across Telangana in the last few years has led to a steady decline in cases of malaria, a potentially life-threatening disease transmitted by Anopheles mosquito and caused by Plasmodium parasites.

Unlike tuberculosis, malaria is a non-notifiable disease and poses a lot of challenges for the public healthcare system for early diagnosis and quick treatment. Despite such difficulties, Telangana has recorded gradual decline in disease burden and mortality due to malaria, which is in line with the national trend of decreasing disease burden.

Senior public health officials here said that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has taken keen interest to make Telangana malaria free and in the process, fully eliminate the disease. As part of these efforts, the Chief Minister has directed the Health Department to take all necessary measures to ensure the targets are met in the coming two years.

“The Chief Minister has reviewed malaria elimination programme several times in the last few years. Telangana is already in the malaria elimination stage and in collaboration with other government departments, all out efforts are being taken up to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of the disease,” says Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G Srinivasa Rao.

This year, barring two districts in Telangana, rest have registered single-digit cases of malaria. “This year, we had a setback in two districts, as Bhadradri Kothagudem reported 220 cases and Mulugu reported 189 cases of malaria. The rest of the districts had less than 10 cases. Thanks to concerted efforts from various government departments, since 2017, the cases of malaria have been steadily on the decline in Telangana,” Dr Srinivasa Rao said.

The decline in the number of malarial infections in Telangana is in accordance with the national trend of drop in infections. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) in its World Malaria Report (WMR), 2020, indicated that the country made considerable progress in reducing malaria burden.

“India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6 per cent in 2019 as compared to 2018. India has also contributed to the largest drop in cases region-wide, from approximately 20 million to about six million. The percentage drop in malaria cases was 72.8 per cent and deaths were 73.9 per cent between 2000 and 2019,” the WHO report said.

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