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Struggling to control Covid 19, India is among 11 most malaria affected countries

April 04, 2020 12:53 PM

CHANDIGARH: India is among the 11 most malaria-affected countries in the world and the country and it has seen nearly 4, 30, 000 cases in 2018 now is fighting COVID-19 pandemic. On the other, the country will receive monsoon above normal predicted by the weather forecast.

The malaria crisis will loom in the coming month as nearly 95 per cent of Indians live in malaria-endemic regions and country’s health care system (under staff) is already pre-occupied with COVID-19, preventive measures and awareness campaigns that usually begin in April and May could take a hit as necessary resources and staff have been diverted to fight the present pandemic, say health experts. (India Spend report)

America has started storing malaria medicines as there are similarity in symptoms of COVID-19 and malaria. Pedro Alonso, Director of World Health Organization (WHO) Global Malaria Programme has warned not to scale back planned malaria prevention, diagnostic and treatment activities.

The official of the Chandigarh Health Department admitted that April and March were crucial months to take preventive measures such as fogging, fumigation and awareness campaigns but at present these were not initiated so far.  The peak season for malaria starts from May and a spike is seen after the monsoon, in July and August, ” said Madhu Gupta from the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh and added there was an apprehension malaria prevention might take a backseat since resources are being directed towards COVID-19. “In Punjab--a malaria endemic region--there is a curfew and all work has stopped, ” Gupta added, by way of an example, “The healthcare system is focused on dealing with COVID-19, ” (India Spend)

As the number of CORONA virus cases is increasing, the health care system to combat it will be a challenge to the country’s fight against malaria. India aims to eliminate the disease by 2030 the task will become strenuous. In 2018, India registered 414, 000 fewer malaria cases than in 2017--a 49 per cent decrease over 2017 and a 60 per cent decrease over 2016, according to official data. As all municipal staff who are in charge for ensuring sanitation, vector control, fogging, have been engaged in COVID-19 then how to cope with these routine activities. Hence, it becomes imperative to all health authority up their sleeve to ensure routine programmatic activities are taken on war footing.

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