The island country of Sri Lanka, where people were reeling under severe malaria conditions even some years ago has now been officially certified by World Health Organization (WHO) as malaria-free.
Sri Lanka becomes the second country in WHO’s South-East Asia Region after the Maldives to eliminate malaria. It was one of the most malaria-affected countries 60 years ago. From 2012 onwards, cases of malaria in the country came down to zero.
How did Sri Lanka achieve this mark?
According to WHO, it is mainly because of the change in strategy that came in the 1990s. It started intensively targeting the parasite and targeting the mosquito.
A WHO statement said, “The change in strategy was unorthodox but highly effective. Mobile malaria clinics in high transmission areas meant that prompt and effective treatment could reduce the parasite reservoir and the possibility of further transmission. Effective surveillance, community engagement and health education, meanwhile, enhanced the ability of authorities to respond, and mobilized popular support for the campaign.”
Besides, Sri-Lanka’s anti-malaria campaign is working closely with local authorities as well as international partners to keep up the surveillance and the response capacity.
WHO has called this progress as a “remarkable public health achievement”.
Where is India lacking?
India ranks 3rd among the 15 countries having the highest cases of malaria deaths due to the disease. In 2015, 214 million new cases of malaria were reported in the country and approximately 4.38 lakh people died.