NEW DELHI: Of the 11 countries with the worlds highest malaria burdens, India was one of only two countries to reduce malaria cases between 2017 and 2018, achieving a 28 per cent reduction in such cases, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report.
While India had 2.6 million fewer malaria cases in 2018, Uganda had 1.5 million fewer cases last year, compared to the previous year, said the report titled "World Malaria Report 2019".
This success builds on India's 24 per cent reduction in malaria cases between 2016 and 2017 reported last year by the WHO.
However, the research also revealed that 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carried almost 85 per cent of the global malaria burden.
According to the report, India's progress means the country no longer has the world's fourth highest malaria burden, though it still is the only non-African country among the top 11 countries with the most malaria globally.
The report also calls out India for being the only one of the 11 countries to increase its domestic funding between 2017-2018 to fight malaria.
Additional funding increases in 2019 by the Central government nearly trebled its funding for the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) over the past two years.
"While we have come a long way, sustained focus and increased funding are crucial to boost India's fight against malaria and ensure that India continues to lead the world and becomes malaria-free by 2030," said Sanjeev Gaikwad, India Country Director of nonprofit organisation Malaria No More.
In 2016, India introduced its first National Framework for Malaria Elimination (2016-2030) and has sustained progress toward defeating malaria since the plan's launch.
Globally, malaria afflicted 228 million people and killed an estimated 4 lakh people last year.