While the year 2019 might be more about dengue cases in India, other mosquito-borne diseases like Malaria, Chikungunya and Zika are not left far behind. In fact, India has been ranked fourth by a recent Lancet report, based on the global malaria cases in 2017. The report was compiled by more than 40 experts including malariologists, biomedical scientists, economists, and health policy experts, assimilating existing evidence with new epidemiological and financial analyses.
India’s fourth rank comes with four percent of the cases worldwide reported in the country. As mentioned in the report, out of the 219 million cases of malaria reported globally in 2017, nearly 10 million were from India, making it the fourth most affected by the disease. India was only behind the African countries Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique.
To compile the report, the authors used new modeling techniques and estimated how prevalent and intense malaria could be in 2030 and 2050. Their analyses also focused on how socioeconomic and environmental trends, together with improved coverage of current malaria interventions, will "lead to low levels of malaria that persist in pockets across roughly ten countries in equatorial Africa in 2050."
Despite the possibility, the report mentions India, eastern Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea to be the countries which would struggle to eliminate malaria by 2030 based on current trajectories. Mentioning the reason, the study noted that regional support, such as peer country technical assistance, should be increasingly focused on these countries.
Along with India’s position, what comes as the worry is the fact that the authors of the study have noted Chennai as a peculiar case of malaria in India, wherein 2017, 71 percent of the cases in the state of Tamil Nadu occurred in the capital city which just has a population of seven million people.
As per the health experts, the reason for the menace is the Indian environment, which is suited for the breeding of main malaria vector Anopheles stephensi.
Focusing on the factors of improvement, the report emphasized on the need for unique strategies and interventions beyond those typically deployed in rural settings. It also focused on improving municipal water supply infrastructure and reducing the need for rooftop water storage.