Nagaland Has Lowest Malaria Cases In Northeast India; Hopes To Eliminate It Ahead Of Target - Eastern Mirror
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Nagaland has lowest malaria cases in Northeast India; hopes to eliminate it ahead of target

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 25, 2023 11:54 pm
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Y Kikheto Sema addressing the gathering during the World Malaria Day in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA: Nagaland has lowest malaria positive cases in the Northeast region, detecting only five positive cases in 2022, zero cases in 2023 till date, and zero deaths since 2018.

“At this rate, we should be able to eliminate malaria even before our country target of 2030,” Y Kikheto Sema, Health Commissioner and Secretary, said on the occasion of World Malaria Day observed at the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Kohima, on Tuesday.

He said Nagaland has brought down malaria cases from 8489 in 2009 to just five in 2022, and 75 malaria death cases in 2006 to nil since 2018.

‘Back in 1953, there were 75 million malaria cases and 8 lakh deaths in India. Today, the country has brought down the cases to 45,000 and 50 deaths in 2022,’ he informed.

The state hosted NER and 3 JCO States Review meeting last month during which it was revealed that ‘Nagaland is now the lowest Malaria positive cases in the NER’, he added while lauding the staff for the achievement.

He stressed on the need to create awareness about the devastating effect of the disease on one’s health as well as social and economic consequences.

‘While malaria is in the process of elimination, the new malaria is now resisting to malaria drugs. In addition, dengue and Japanese encephalitis is a big concern for all,’ he said. 

‘It is also reported that it has reached within 25 km of the Indian border of Myanmar. Hence, there is an urgency to eliminate malaria as fast as possible,’ he added.

The role of experts and research scientists is crucial for a new medicine to fight the new malaria, he continued.

Towards malaria-free Nagaland

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Participants during the World Malaria Day in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

State Programme Officer of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Dr. Neisakho Kere, informed that it was able to bring down malaria cases to only five indigenous cases last year and no infections so far this year.

‘The most important activity in malaria control is surveillance where even NCVBDC Delhi will monitor how good we perform through this surveillance report. In this surveillance, we do either RDT or BSC for microscopic examination on all fever patients suspected of malaria,’ he said.

‘In surveillance, we have passive and active surveillance. The passive surveillance is done by the government and private health units where fever patients come for malaria testing; even ASHA’s malaria test falls under this passive surveillance. Our record shows only around 20% of total malaria test being performed by these groups,’ he added.

Kere informed that the surveillance workers, also called active surveillance, perform 80% of the total malaria test every year.

In 2009, a total of 2,55,888 malaria tests were performed and detected 8489 malaria cases, which was the highest recorded in the history of the state.

As per the record during the past five years, districts like Mokokchung and Longleng did not detected any malaria cases for the last four years while Zunheboto did not register such infections during the last three years. In 2022, districts including Kiphire, Longleng, Mokokchung, Mon, Tuensang, Wokha and Zunheboto did not detect any malaria case.

The main concern is Dimapur, said Kere, adding that the department will try to control it in the district as one or two positive cases keeping surfacing every year though the number has decreased drastically.

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Health officials along with three best performing ASHA workers during World Malaria Day in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

“Our state is one of the best performing states among NE states in controlling malaria and in bringing down malaria cases to only 5 last year, and if we try hard, we may be the first state in India to achieve malaria elimination. This will happen only if we get full support and co-operation from every angle, be it government, private hospitals, all stakeholders and every individual,” said the health official.

Principal Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vibeituonuo M Sachu said that globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria and an estimated 627,000 deaths were reported due to the disease in 2012.

‘The NCVBDC in the state has been progressing steadily towards a malaria-free Nagaland. The journey towards malaria elimination programme over the years has resulted in a sharp decline in malaria morbidity and mortality. While major steps towards the goal of eliminating malaria have been taken, more need be done to fulfill the dream of a malaria-free state,’ she said.

She further called upon private healthcare sector including the private practitioners to align their malaria case management and reporting as well as related activities with the state programme.

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 25, 2023 11:54:12 pm
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