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World Malaria Day 2021

  • 24 Apr 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The report, titled ‘Zeroing in on malaria elimination’, was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of World Malaria Day 2021.

  • World Malaria Day is observed on 25th April every year. The 2021 theme is “Reaching the Zero Malaria target".
  • The WHO has also identified 25 countries with the potential to eradicate malaria by 2025 under its ‘E-2025 Initiative’.

Key Points

  • Malaria:
    • About:
      • Malaria is a life threatening mosquito borne blood disease caused by plasmodium parasites. It is predominantly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South America as well as Asia.
      • The parasites spread through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
        • After entering the human body, parasites initially multiply within the liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs) resulting in their rupture.
      • There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax – pose the greatest threat.
      • Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness.
      • It is preventable as well as curable.
    • Malaria Vaccine:
      • Known by its lab initials as RTS,S but branded as Mosquirix, the vaccine has passed lengthy scientific trials that found it to be safe and reducing the risk of malaria by nearly 40%, the best ever recorded.
      • It was developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) company and approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2015.
      • The RTS,S vaccine trains the immune system to attack the malaria parasite (Plasmodium (P.) falciparum, the most deadly species of the malaria parasite).
  • E-2025 Initiative:
    • In 2017, WHO launched the E-2020 initiative to support a group of countries to achieve zero indigenous cases of malaria by 2020.
      • Some 21 countries across five regions were identified as having the potential to reach the milestone of eliminating malaria.
      • The report ‘Zeroing in on malaria elimination’ brings out the progress made through the E-2020 initiative of WHO.
    • Building on the successes of the E-2020, WHO has identified a new group of 25 countries that have the potential to stamp out malaria within a 5-year timeline.
    • The E-2025 countries will receive technical and on-the-ground support by WHO and its partners. In return, they are expected to audit their elimination programmes annually, participate in elimination forums, conduct surveillance assessments, and share malaria case data periodically.
    • The new countries were selected based on four criteria:
      • The establishment of a government-endorsed elimination plan;
      • Meeting the threshold of malaria case reductions in recent years;
      • Having the capacity of malaria surveillance and a designated governmental agency responsible for malaria elimination; and
      • Being selected by the WHO Malaria Elimination Oversight Committee.
  • India's Scenario:
    • Malaria Burden: The World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020 released by WHO, which gives the estimated cases for malaria across the world, indicates that India has made considerable progress in reducing its malaria burden.
      • India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6% in 2019 as compared to 2018.
    • Initiatives Taken:
      • In 2017, India launched its 5-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination that shifted focus from Malaria control to elimination and provided a roadmap to end malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
      • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently established ‘Malaria Elimination Research Alliance-India (MERA-India) which is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control.

Source: DTE

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