India has inspired the region to work towards eradicating malaria by 2030, said Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, at the Asia Pacific Leaders' Conclave on Malaria Elimination
“Malaria is not just a public health issue but also a social, economic, and political challenge that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders." India was the only high-burden, high-impact country in the South- East Asia region to report a decline in malaria cases in 2020 as compared to 2019. India witnessed an 85.1% decline in malaria cases and an 83.36% decline in deaths during 2015-2022”. In the presence of Dr. Manik Saha, Chief Minister of Tripura, Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, and Dr. Poonam Khetrepal, Regional Director, WHO-SEARO, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, made this statement as he virtually addressed the Asia Pacific Leaders' Conclave on Malaria Elimination.
Other dignitaries like Culwick Togamana, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Islands, Antonio Lalabalavu, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Republic of Fiji, Dante Saksoni Harbuwono, Vice Minister of Health, Republic of Indonesia, Dr. Zaliha Binti Mustafa, Minister of Health, Malaysia, Mao Tan Eang, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Cambodia; Champa Aluthweera, Director, Anti Malaria Campaign, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka, Chuman Lal Das, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Nepal, Moh Moh Lwin, National Director, Myanmar, were also present at the conclave. Sarthak Das, CEO, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, and senior representatives from various government departments, development partners and corporates also attended the conference.
The health minister praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and added that Shri Narendra Modi ji was one of the world leaders who signed on to the Asia-Pacific Leaders Alliance's roadmap for eliminating malaria at the East Asia Summit in 2015, inspiring the region to work towards eradicating malaria by 2030.
Addressing the significant challenge posed by malaria, particularly to marginalised and vulnerable communities, Mandaviya added that “rejuvenated political commitment and strengthened technical leadership will play a monumental role in eradicating malaria from the world”. Citing the transformational impact of India’s health initiatives such as Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres, and Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, as well as the substantial role of its healthcare workers, Mandaviya said, “India is committed to sharing our resources, knowledge, and learnings with other countries in our endeavour to eliminate malaria.”
The Chief Minister of Tripura, Manik Saha, made reference to the disastrous consequences that a malaria outbreak had on Tripura in 2014. He described how the State expanded its use of vector-control methods, raised community awareness through institutional assistance from the Indian Council of Medical Research, and saw a significant drop in malaria cases as a result.
R. Lalthamgliana, Health Minister, Mizoram highlighted the role and impact of political commitment stating “these deliberations, discussions serve to enhance knowledge and awareness in this endeavour, and illuminate further ways and means of achieving higher impact.”
Ratu Atonio Rabici Lalabalavu, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Fiji, discussed the practices deployed to eliminate malaria in their country. He said, “There is a need for contingent and persistent efforts as no-size-fits-all and all countries must leverage the available resources to the best of their use, strengthening community engagement and institutional mobilization.”
Culwick Togamana, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Islands referred to impediments of financial constraints. He advocated employing a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach with support from different organizations in the endeavour to eliminate malaria. He further added “that this is an occasion to review our progress, reaffirming our commitments and strategise a plan to eliminate malaria by 2030.”
Sarthak Das, CEO, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance and senior representatives from various government departments, development partners and corporates were present.