World could be Malaria-free by 2050: Study
World may be able to completely eradicate malaria, a mosquito-borne infection that kills, by 2050, says a study published in The Lancet Journal.
Experts attribute the possibility to improved coverage of current interventions that has already led to more than half of the world’s countries being currently malaria-free.
India has managed to bring down the numbers by 50%, with an estimated 5.1 million cases in 2018 compared to 9.6 million in 2017, according to estimates by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).
The NVBDCP implements the country’s malaria elimination programme and has set a target to have zero indigenous cases by 2027.
The Lancet report compiled by several experts including malariologists, biomedical scientists, economists, and health policy experts, shows that with the right tools, strategies, and sufficient funding, elimination of the disease is possible in next 30 years.
There are still more than 200 million cases of malaria reported annually around the world, claiming nearly 50,000 lives.
The experts found socioeconomic and environmental trends, together with improved coverage of current malaria interventions, will “lead to low levels of malaria that persist in pockets across roughly 10 countries in equatorial Africa in 2050.”
There could be a time-bound eradication goal with purpose, urgency, and dedication, instead of gradual efforts to reduce malaria, which comes with the constant threat of resurgence, and a steeping struggle against drug and insecticide resistance.
“For too long, malaria eradication has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050,” said Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US.
With inputs from PTI