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India is a malaria endemic country. The reported malaria cases in the country last year have declined by 23% compared to 2016, yet India still accounts for 87% of malaria cases in the South Asia region. Also, as per the World Malaria Report, India has among the weakest malaria surveillance systems globally, with only 8% of cases detected by the surveillance system.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has set a target of reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%, reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.
There is still a long road ahead before the goal of elimination of malaria throughout the country by 2030 is achieved.
Malaria is entirely a preventable disease. It is also a treatable disease provided it is diagnosed and treated in time. The symptoms of malaria are non specific and can be variable. So it may be mistaken for other diseases such as viral infections, typhoid and the diagnosis of malaria may be missed as a result.
It is important to remember here that malaria is not a clinical diagnosis; the diagnosis has to be confirmed by microscopy or a rapid diagnostic test (RDT).
The ‘T3’ initiative of the WHO Global Malaria Program supports malaria endemic countries in their efforts to achieve universal coverage with diagnostic testing and antimalarial treatment, as well as in strengthening their malaria surveillance systems
T3 stands for Test. Treat. Track., which means:
- Every suspectedmalaria case should be tested
- Every confirmedcase should be treated with a quality-assured antimalarial medicine
- The disease should be trackedthrough a timely and accurate surveillance system.
Adopting and implementing this initiative will be a step in the right direction in the efforts to control and eliminate malaria.
Every patient of fever must be investigated for malaria to either confirm the diagnosis or exclude it as a cause of fever.