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Nagaland makes significant progress in NVBCP: Paiwang Konyak


DIMAPUR, MARCH 18: Nagaland Minister of Health & Family Welfare, P Paiwang Konyak on Saturday stated that significant progress has been made in the National Vector Borne Control Programme (NVBCP) in the State towards malaria elimination over the years, with a sharp decline in malaria morbidity and mortality.
Speaking on the concluding day of a 3-day ‘Regional Review Meeting of GFATM (Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) Project States’, which was underway here at Niathu Resort, Chumoukedima, organized by National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NVBDCP) and Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoH&FW), Nagaland, he cited that in 2009, a total of 8,489 malaria cases were detected in the State and 35 lives were lost to the disease. However, with the support of the Global Fund and the Directorate NCVBDC Government of India, the State has been able to control malaria cases, resulting in zero malaria deaths since 2017.
The Minister praised the successful malaria control programme in the districts of Mokokchung, Longleng and Zunheboto, where no malaria cases have been detected in the past 3 years and said that 7 out of 16 districts did not detect any malaria-positive cases last year.
He mentioned the initiation of new activities in the State to prevent the spread of malaria, such as intensive screening of suspected malaria cases along international borders of Myanmar, and screening of paramilitary forces, migrant workers and laborers in his speech and cautioned at the same time about the emerging trends of other vector-borne diseases like Japanese Encephalitis and Dengue in the State.
He expressed the need to be more alert, cautious and identify early signals to prevent the spread and minimize mortality and morbidity and hoped that the discussions of the meeting would be informative, practical, and fruitful to make better policy to achieve the goal of Malaria Elimination by 2030 in the country.
Commissioner & Secretary of the DoH&FW Y Kikheto Sema, on the occasion, noted that the last regional meeting hosted by Nagaland was in 2016, the same year the Malaria Elimination Programme was launched.
He emphasized the need for constant coordination, cooperation, confidence and contribution to achieve the goal of malaria elimination by 2030 and added that awareness campaigns, cleanliness drives involving all sections of society and joint tackling of other diseases like Dengue and Japanese Encephalitis were crucial to achieving this goal.
According to him, the Government of Nagaland has achieved remarkable success in reducing malaria cases, which he said were at their peak in the late 1980s and 1990s. He stated that the State recorded the highest number of deaths, 75, in 2006, and 8,489 positive cases in 2009; however, support from the Government of India and involvement of all concerned parties, Nagaland has now become the State with the lowest number of malaria-positive cases in the Northeast region.
He encouraged all States to work hard to achieve the target of eliminating malaria as per the vision of the country and emphasized the importance of joint efforts in tackling related diseases.
Roli Singh, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (NHM), MoHFW, GoI, on the occasion, asked Nagaland to not be complacent because of the declining trend as malaria has a tendency of reemerging if the focus is shifted from it.
According to Singh, there was significant progress in the battle against malaria, with several States reporting a reduction in the number of malaria cases and deaths. She said that that 6 districts in Assam, 13 in Arunachal Pradesh, 12 in Manipur and 8 in Nagaland did not report any indigenous cases of malaria in 2022. Additionally, States such as Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, except for Tripura and Mizoram, maintained ABER (Annual Blood Examination Rate) >10, and all States maintained API (Annual Parasite Incidence) <1. The LLIN (Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets) coverage is 100% in eligible populations and all 21 entomological zones were strengthened by providing kits, microscopes and laptops.
Singh also highlighted the best practices in the fight against malaria, including the use of special songs for malaria awareness and pledges involving students to sleep under LLINS, as done in Andhra Pradesh. She mentioned that Meghalaya introduced an ASHA payment app, allowing the release of incentives within 4 days, while Nagaland and Assam engaged religious faith leaders for raising awareness. Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have mobile medical units functional in 24 districts and Odisha has a special surveillance programme for the validation of 0 malaria cases, she said.
However, she also pointed out areas for improvement, such as mapping high-risk mobile populations, strengthening entomological surveillance and zones, recruitment and training of HR and the utilization and availability of drugs and diagnostics. She emphasized the importance of strengthening surveillance for real-time monitoring of cases and prevention of re-establishment of infection in non-endemic districts.
Outlining the way forward, she suggested intensified efforts to complete activities outlined for IMEP-2 (2021-2024), preparing evidence and outcome-based proposals for the next Global Fund cycle, and micro-planning with a focus on SCs with high burden malaria cases and deaths. She also stressed the importance of addressing cross-border issues and the formulation of a district action plan especially for high-burden districts with the involvement of relevant stakeholders.
The meeting, which was aimed at discussing the progress of Intensified Malaria Elimination Project-2 (IMEP-2), and attended by representatives of various Northeastern States commenced on March 16.
(Page News Service)