• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Malaria: Facts, Stats, and Trends in India

Malaria is a life-threatening, vector-borne disease that is caused by a plasmodium parasite.

The extent or impact of the infection to human health depends on the species of parasite and most deadly species are prevalent in India.

mosquito malaria plaque

Malaria Mosquito, Image Credit: pixabay


Facts on Malaria

#1 The state that records the highest number of cases in India in Orissa. The state population is around 36.7 million and it contributes to 25% of the total reported cases annually.

The percentage contribution to the cases in other states include:

  1. Maharashtra:2%

  2. Madhya Pradesh: 6%

  3. Karnataka: 7%

  4. Jharkhand: 7%

  5. Gujarat: 5%

  6. Goa: 1%

  7. Chattisgarh: 13%

  8. Andhra Pradesh: 2%

  9. West Bengal: 11%

  10. Uttar Pradesh: 5%

  11. Tamil Nadu: 2%

  12. Rajasthan: 4%

Malaria pie chart

#2 One of the main problems scientists face in trying to treat the disease is due to the widespread problems of drug resistance by vector-borne diseases, especially malaria.

Chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium Falciparum and intense transmission has been reported and confirmed in the following areas:

  1. The northeastern state of Assam

  2. Arunachal Pradesh

  3. Mizoram

  4. Nagaland

Suggested Read: 8 Facts About Dengue That May Surprise You

#3 There are types or species of plasmodium that can infect a person:

  1. Plasmodium falciparum (or P. falciparum)

  2. Plasmodium malariae (or P. malariae)

  3. Plasmodium vivax (or P. vivax)

  4. Plasmodium ovale (or P. ovale)

  5. Plasmodium knowlesi (or P. knowlesi)

Malaria - Plasmodium

Malaria Parasites, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Out of these five species, P. Falciparum and P. Vivax pose the greatest threat as they are the two most dominant and prevalent malarial species and contribute to more than 60% of the reported cases in India.

Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae cases have also been reported in a few areas in the country.

#4 Historically, this disease has proven to be an economic burden to the country. In 1935, the estimated loss of rupees was 42 crores in terms of financial loss and loss of wages in the community.

Some studies show that the total economic burden from malaria in India could be anywhere around 194 crores from financial loss and treatment cost.

#5 Funding:

  1. Global funds have invested over $2 billion for India to fight diseases, since 2005. Out of these funds, around $200 million has been disbursed to malaria.

  2. In 2019, the Government of India Increased NVBDCP funding by 25% in order to increase their support and push for progress.

#6 In November 2015, the Prime Minister of India joined 17 Asia Pacific leaders and pledged to eliminate malaria by 2030.

Trends and Statistics

  1. India contributes 77% of total malaria in Southeast Asia.

  2. From 1990 to date, WHO South East Asia Regional Office estimates 15 million cases and 20,000 deaths in India, annually.

  3. Although out of that, India only confirms around 2 million cases and 1,000 deaths every year.

  4. Although there was not a well-accepted fact until recently, an incidence gap of 68%-98% existed between the reported and true incidence in India, after an investigation and surveillance were carried out.

  5. From the year 2001- 2017, a decline in the trends in the transmission had from 2 million cases in 2001 to around 1-1.2 cases in 2017.

malaria-cases-south-east-asia

History of Malaria Control in India

After India got its independence in 1947, 22% of the total population (330 million) was estimated to suffer from the disease.

Around that time, 75 million cases and 0.8 million cases were reported annually. To deal with this matter, the authorities launched the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in 1953.

Initially, the programme was successful in keeping a check, reducing incidents deaths but in 1976, there was a massive increase due to poor health, funding, and the development of vector resistance.

Similar increasing and decreasing trends were observed every 10 years and the programme evolved to other programmes like National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP), Enhanced Malaria Control Project (EMCP) and finally, the NMCP merged with other vector-borne disease programmes and formed the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in 2002.

The NVBDCP launched new tools for prevention and control and has been progressive in the programme ever since.

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