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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-53

Malarial prevention in South East Asia: Call for action

1 Independent Public Health Researcher, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
2 Department of Anatomy, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Date of Submission27-Oct-2021
Date of Decision03-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance05-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication04-Feb-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sheikh Mohd Saleem
Chanapora, Srinagar 190015, Jammu and Kashmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_92_21

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How to cite this article:
Saleem SM, Jan SS. Malarial prevention in South East Asia: Call for action. Curr Med Issues 2022;20:52-3

How to cite this URL:
Saleem SM, Jan SS. Malarial prevention in South East Asia: Call for action. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 30];20:52-3. Available from: https://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2022/20/1/52/337314


There has been a lot of buzz which does revitalize many hopes for malaria elimination and control.[1] While we are going through the biggest and most resource-consuming coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the impact on the health system is invertible. This has led to poor health indicators, timelines for program accomplishments and diversion of human resources.[2] Despite a considerable decrease in the worldwide burden of malaria, it remains one of the most severe public health issues in Africa and South Asia.[3] In 2019, an estimated 229 million malaria cases were reported in 87 malaria-endemic countries, decreasing from 238 million in 2000. There were 218 million estimated malaria cases in 2015, according to the Global technological strategy for malaria 2016–2030. The proportion of cases caused by Plasmodium vivax has decreased from around 7% in 2000 to 3% in 2019. Malaria case incidence (cases per 1000 people at risk) has decreased globally from 80 in 2000 to 58 in 2015 and 57 in 2019.[4] Global malaria case incidence fell by 27% between 2000 and 2015 and by <2% between 2015 and 2019, showing a slowdown of the rate of decrease after 2015. With an anticipated 215 million illnesses in 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region accounted for about 94 percent of infections. Although there were fewer malaria cases in the WHO African Region in 2000 (204 million) than in 2019, malaria incidence decreased from 363 to 225 cases per 1000 population at risk during this period, reflecting the difficulty of interpreting changing disease transmission in a rapidly growing population despite a significant population growth.[4] The WHO South-East Asia Region accounted for approximately 3% of the worldwide malaria case burden. Malaria cases have decreased by 73%, from 23 million in 2000 to around 6.3 million in 2019.[4] Malaria case incidence in this region has reduced by 78%, from about 18 cases per 1000 people at risk in 2000 to approximately four instances in 2019.[4]

India produced the foremost significant absolute decreases within the WHO South-East Asia Region, from about 20 million cases in 2000 to around 5.6 million in 2019. In 2016, Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free, while Timor-Leste reported no malaria cases in 2018 and 2019. Malaria fatalities in the WHO African Region decreased by 44%, from 680,000 in 2000 to 386,000 in 2019. The malaria fatality rate decreased by 67% during the same period, from 121 to 40 deaths per 100,000 people at risk. Malaria fatalities in the WHO South-East Asia Region have decreased by 74%, from over 35,000 in 2000 to 9000 in 2019. In the WHO South-East Asia Region, India accounted for about 86% of all malaria fatalities.

As malaria-endemic nations focus on minimizing morbidity and death (malaria management) to zero-incidence of indigenous cases (malaria eradication), methods and strategies must evolve in tandem.[4] Although the colleague has listed many recent trials going on malarial research in the African region, there is no such information on any trail from the South-Asian area. We have premier dedicated institutes like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), National Institute of Malarial research in India, which deal with field-based malarial research and surveillance. The ICMR-NIMR maintains a network of well-developed laboratories in Delhi that conduct research on all aspects of malaria, as well as eight field units in malaria-endemic areas that serve as a testing ground for new technologies and aid in technology transfer.[5] In its fight against malaria, India has made “impressive gains” as the number of cases and deaths due to the mosquito-borne disease have markedly declined in recent years. As half of India's population lives in malaria-endemic areas, but only 20 percent of malaria cases in India are reported by those living in hard-to-reach areas such as the forest fringes, tribal areas, and foothills. A major contributing factor to the development of Southeast Asia has been India's success against malaria, which stands out as a success story because of the use of newer drugs for malarial control, adaption of newer strategies at the national level, and continuous contribution towards this subject area.

With the development of vaccine against malaria, many hopes have been rejuvenated. In regions with moderate-to-high malaria transmission, including sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO recommends widespread use of the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) malaria vaccine for children. The recommendation is supported by results from a pilot program in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, which has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.[6] In terms of the WHO-recommended malaria vaccine, the next step involves funding decisions from the global health community and country decisions on whether to adopt the vaccine as part of national malaria control strategies. India being one of the endemic countries for malaria should take a lead in malarial vaccine research and adapt the vaccine in the national program against vector-borne disease for widespread use.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

The Lancet Infectious Diseases. A brighter future for malaria prevention? Lancet Infect Dis 2021;21:1333.  Back to cited text no. 1
UNCTAD. How COVID-19 is changing the world : a statistical perspective. Comm Coord Stat [Internet]. 2020;1:1--90. [cited 2022 Jan 5]. Available from: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/ccsa/%0Ahttps://unstats.un.org/unsd/ccsa/documents/covid19-report-ccsa.pdf.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kumar A, Chaturvedi HK, Mohanty AK, Sharma SK, Malhotra MS, Pandey A. Surveillance based estimation of burden of malaria in India, 2015-2016. Malar J 2020;19:156.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. World Malaria Report: 20 years of global progress and challenges [Internet]. Vol. WHO/HTM/GM, World Health Organization. 2020 [cited 2022 Jan 5]. 299 p. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240015791.  Back to cited text no. 4
ICMR – NIMR. ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research. Institution Website; 2019. Available from: https://nimr.org.in/. [Last accessed on 2021 Sep 26].  Back to cited text no. 5
World Health Organization. WHO Recommends Groundbreaking Malaria Vaccine for Children at Risk; 2021. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/06-10-2021-who-recommends-groundbreaking-malaria-vaccine-for-children-at-risk. [Lastaccessed on 2021 Nov 01].  Back to cited text no. 6


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