Economic Impact Of Malaria In India

Friday, 30/09/2016


Malaria has been an endemic disease in India. It has affected the public health severely and also, has an impact on the development of the country. Malaria causes several deaths in India each year. The people living in poverty suffer more from Malaria, as they don’t have enough money to treat it and ultimately, succumb to the disease.
To study the economic impact of Malaria in India, it is quite essential to know each aspect of it.

Chronology of Malaria In India

Malaria in India has been a problem for centuries. The details of this disease can also be found in the Charaka Samhita and Atharva Veda, the medical literature of Ancient India.

1. Outbreak of Malaria in the 1930s

● By the 1930s, Malaria had spread so widely that each and every aspect of human life in India was affected by this disease.
● During the late 19th and early 20th century, an outbreak of Malaria was witnessed in India, mainly in Bengal and Punjab.
● This affected about one–fourth of the Indian population. During those days, Malaria was a cause of economic misfortunes in India.
● At the time of independence, 75 million people were estimated to be affected from Malaria every year in a population of 330 million.
● The death rate due to this disease was estimated to be 0.8 million every year.

2. Control Measures taken in the 1950s and 1960s

National Malaria Control Programme

● In order to control and decrease these numbers, the Government of India launched the National Malaria Control Programme in April 1953 that proved to be a successful campaign, resulting in the decrease of cases to 2 million each year by 1958.
● After gaining success in this program, the Government of India launched the National Malaria Eradication Program in 1958 with the aim of completely eradicating this disease from India. Following this program, the numbers decreased to 50,000 in 1961.
● But after that, the programme got a setback and the numbers started rising immediately.
● In the 1960’s, Malaria was widely spread all across the urban areas. As a result of this, the number of Malaria cases increased to 6 million highest after the launching of the programmes.

Urban Malaria Scheme

● After implementing the Urban Malaria Scheme in 1971 – 1972 followed by the Modified plan of operation in 1977, there was a new hope.
● The Malaria infected cases had decreased to 2 million upsurges.
● This scheme improved the conditions of Malaria in the country for 5 to 6 years.
● Modified Plan of Operation (MPO) made the availability of drugs easier, which reduced the number of deaths due to Malaria. This programme mainly impacted the Vivax Malaria.

Plasmodium falciparum Containment Strategy

● The launching of Plasmodium falciparum Containment Programme in 1977 helped the government to reduce the effect of falciparum at places where this was launched. However, its general spread could not be controlled.
● But thereafter, in 1970’s there was a steady rise in P. Falciparum. Seeing the rise of the parasite, the government of India began the development process in various sectors in order to improve the national economy under the five-year plan.

3. Return of Malaria in the 1990s

Malaria returned with all the new features in the 1990’s.
● The mosquitoes were now resistant to insecticides and antimalarial drugs. This was a feature not witnessed during the days of eradication.
● According to a report on Malaria in 2014, 22% of Indian people lived in places where Malaria is a highly transmitted disease while 67% of Indians lived in a place of low transmission. 11% of the population lived in an area free from Malaria. Out of these, 53% of the cases were caused by P. Falciparum while P. Vivax caused 47% of the infection.

4. Some Facts about Malaria Cases in India

● The burden of Malaria in India is faced mostly by the backward and poor communities. 95% of the burden is in the rural areas while 5% sufferers are from the urban areas.
● The maximum number of Malaria cases and deaths reported in India are from Orissa followed by Maharashtra, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Goa and Karnataka.
● The cases of P. Vivax and P. Falciparum differ.
● The cases of P. Falciparum account for 30 to 90% of the cases in the forested areas of India within the ethnic tribal groups and less than 10% of the cases are reported in Indo–Gangetic Plains, Northwestern India, hilly areas and Southern Tamil Nadu.
● Due to global warming and climate change, the cases are likely to increase.

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