India should contribute to broader efforts against malaria: Experts
Posted on Apr 25 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, April 25 : India should contribute to broader efforts against malaria as it is a leading producer and exporter of anti-malarial medicines, health experts have said.
India, which has one of the largest burdens of malaria in the world, should also initiate national corporate engagement initiatives against the disease as a strong member of the G20 and the BRICS emerging market countries, they said according to a release.
"With 95 percent of India's population living in malaria-endemic areas and an estimated one million cases reported by the government each year, malaria continues to take a significant economic toll on the country," said Herve Verhoosel, Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Representative at the United Nations in New York.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to leverage the power of a booming economy in India to unlock resources and scale-up malaria-control interventions that will save lives and foster greater development for all.
"I call on the private sector to join the government and civil society to help scale-up efforts and overcome biological challenges that threaten progress," he added.
With 22 malaria-endemic countries in the Asia-Pacific, the region is home to over two billion people at risk of infection and accounts for approximately 32 million cases of malaria infection and 47,000 associated deaths each year.
According to the health ministry, malaria deaths in India have been reduced by nearly half in the past decade, largely due to increased control efforts, a shift in drug policy and greater community participation and industry engagement.