Sachin Sharma, Reena Verma, Bhawna Yadav, Amit Kumar, Manju Rahi, Amit Sharma
India is targeting malaria elimination by 2030. Understanding and adopting the strategies employed by countries that have successfully eliminated malaria can serve as a crucial thrust in this direction for a geographically diverse country like India. This analysis is based on extensive literature search on malaria elimination policies, strategies and programmes adopted by nine countries (China, El Salvador, Algeria, Argentina, Uzbekistan, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Armenia) which have attained malaria-free status over the past decade. The key points which India can learn from their journey are mandatory time-bound response in the form of case reporting and management, rapid vector control response, continuous epidemiological and entomological surveillance, elevated community participation, more training and capacity building, private sector involvement, use of quality diagnostics, cross-border collaborations, inclusion of prevention of re-establishment programmes into the elimination plans, higher investment in research, and uninterrupted funds for successful implementation of malaria elimination programmes. These learnings would help India and other South Asian countries steer their programmes by devising tailor-made strategies for their own regions.
By 2021, 40 countries have been certified by the WHO as malaria-free. There are 85 malaria-endemic countries, with an estimated 241million cases in 2020.
India continues to show a sustained decline in overall malaria but faces several challenges in its malaria elimination journey.
An overview of malaria elimination strategies which were central to the success achieved by nine countries in the past decade is presented here. Some of these can be emulated by India and other South Asian countries to overcome the challenges in their elimination drive.
Barriers to smooth adoption of these strategies in the Indian programme have also been described.