Odisha: Commemorating World Malaria Day, Malaria No More India with the Government of Odisha co-organized an elaborate event in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. The theme, in line with WHO’s a global theme, was ‘Harnessing innovation to reduce malaria and save lives’ and the event saw dialogue around current and prospective advancements and innovative approaches that can strengthen the malaria elimination effort.
The event on World Malaria Day, featured an address by Dr. Niranjan Mishra, Director of Public Health, Government of Odisha, on the theme of the event – harnessing innovation. Emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts and innovative approaches he stated, “It’s a great day for all of us to jointly celebrate World Malaria Day with Malaria No More India, who is a partner in this elimination drive.
With the continuous efforts and dedication of all our health staff, we have reduced our malaria burden to only 25,503 cases in 2021. Currently, we are focusing on high case load districts of Odisha with intensified approach and targeting CHC, subcenters, and inaccessible villages.
There is a need for involvement of all partners through Malaria Action Coalition to achieve the target of Malaria free Odisha with innovation and technology on ground and through community engagement, which will fasten the need-based interventions with last mile connection.”
The event also saw the participation of other high-level dignitaries from the Government of Odisha including Special Secretary (Public Health), Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha; Managing Director OSMCL, Government of Odisha; Mission Director, NHM, Government of Odisha; and Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha.
Shri Naba Kisore Das, Honorable Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of Odisha graced the event. He released the Annual Report of NVBDCP Odisha, Government of Odisha and a handout on ‘Fundamentals of Field Supervision’ created by Malaria No More India, in collaboration with the Government of Odisha. Acknowledging the progress of malaria elimination in Odisha during his keynote address he said, “I am delighted about the state level joint observation of World Malaria Day on April 25th, 2022, organized in collaboration with Malaria No More India at Jaydev Bhawan. Odisha has marched ahead in fighting malaria with a focused and sustained approach and has reduced cases to 25,503 in the year 2021 amid covid and other challenges from 4,44,842 cases in the year 2016. The appreciation from WHO and other agencies to the Odisha government is further encouraging and I am hopeful and confident, that Odisha is going to achieve the target soon with all the stakeholders and partner’s support.
I also wish and encourage all the ASHA, ground health workforce, last-mile volunteers for committed support to end malaria in Odisha with technology and innovation as a fighting tool I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the people of Odisha for their continuous support in translating into reality the state mission of “healthy Odisha and happy Odisha”.
With the rapid and permeating advancement of science, technology, and innovation – new tools, strategies, and approaches are accelerating progress across all fields of work; the fight against malaria is no different. If India is to achieve the ambitious goal of eliminating the disease from the country by 2030, the role of innovation is paramount. Supporting the malaria elimination effort in Odisha, Malaria No More India has been working with the state NVBDCP and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, and contributing assiduously towards the achievement of this goal.
Underscoring the need for incorporating innovation in the fight against malaria, Mr. Pratik Kumar, Country Director, Malaria No More India said, “To successfully eliminate malaria from India by 2030 existing approaches must be supported by technology and innovation. We are happy to note that WHO also echoes this sentiment and has conceived their theme for World Malaria Day 2022 around harnessing innovations in the fight against malaria.
Innovations such as Highly-sensitive Rapid Diagnostic Testing Kits (HsRDT), Pyrethroid-Piperonyl-butoxide bed nets, the recently approved vaccine, advancements in anti-malarial drugs, and advanced data management systems are options that we must explore as we move towards malaria elimination.
The innovative strategies and advancements need the involvement of diverse stakeholders such as the government, private sector, research bodies, bilateral organizations, and civil societies – to enable us to approach the issue from all sides of the problem.”