BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has become a model State in malaria control. A new collaborative initiative by the State Government aimed at strengthening malaria control interventions has shown 85 per cent decline in average monthly malaria cases in the State.
Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN), the malaria control programme in inaccessible areas, led by Comprehensive Case Management Programme (CCMP) has achieved the feat. The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).
Additional Director of NVBDCP Dr Prameela Baral said DAMaN, which is going on successfully across 22 districts, has reduced malaria incidence and improved the nutritional status for mother and child leading to a reduction in under-five mortality and maternal mortality.
The CCMP was started in 2013 in pairs of intervention and control blocks in four districts with different transmission intensities catering to a population of nine lakh. It rigorously implemented the World Health Organisation’s Test-Treat-Track initiative that urged malaria-endemic countries to scale up diagnostic testing, treatment and surveillance for malaria. The programme, in fact, provided universal access to malaria diagnosis and treatment and improved the quality of services and surveillance. The experience from the project led to the conceptualisation of DAMaN.
Director of ICMR-NIMR Dr Neena Valecha said the five-year collaborative operational research programme with NVBDCP had served as a living laboratory for the study of improved malaria case management that received technical and financial support from MMV, Geneva.
As part of mass screening and treatment of patients in inaccessible areas, use of District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2), an open-source web-based surveillance for malaria, is now being scaled up in two districts.
Health Secretary Dr Pramod Kumar Meherda said the learning experience from CCMP gave rise to many innovative practices that were successfully implemented. “We now need to sustain the gains to ensure our goals for elimination of malaria by 2027,” he added. Odisha, which accounts for over 40 per cent malaria burden of the entire country, has reported a sharp drop in positive cases last year and during the first quarter this year.
Rayagada district has recorded zero malaria cases in March for the first time achieving a new milestone in the drive towards elimination of malaria in the State.