Karachi, April 26 (TNS): World Malaria Day was observed around the globe to give awareness about the disease in which Pakistan failed massively and in 2016 the country’s health department reported a staggering 318,499 figure of cases relating to Malaria.
Two years ago, 44 countries reported fewer cases than 10,000 of malaria. This was a notable improvement in comparison to 2010 reports, which gave a figure of 37 nations which had Malaria cases less than 10,000 per country.
The WHO also identified 21 countries with the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020. The organisation is working with the governments of these countries known as ‘E-2020’ to accelerate their pace of eliminating malaria. Unfortunately, Pakistan is not among them.
Countries such as Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan were declared Malaria free in 2016.
Pakistan faces the highest risk regarding malaria among 20 countries in the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region. Speaking about the dominance of malaria in Pakistan, Dr Beg said, “We can’t sustain gains that we make over the years in order to eliminate malaria”.
Despite getting international aid from various organizations, Pakistan has been unable to even control the disease let alone eradicate it. In 2016, the country received around $2.7 billion in aid to eradicate the disease
According to Dr Beg, if there is a constant pool of patients of malaria in the community, the malarial parasite can never be completely eradicated.
Health Director-General Dr Akhlaque Ahmed said it is not easy to control malaria in Pakistan due to the environmental conditions of the country. He added that Sindh had initiated the Malaria Control Programme to deal with the disease.
Malaria Control Programme Director, Dr Naheed Jamali. “Pakistan will enter in the elimination phase in 2020 and by 2030; Pakistan will be malaria-free”
Citing the WHO report, Dr Jamali said mortality due to malaria had declined throughout the world, including Pakistan, adding that malaria caused six deaths in Sindh last year. She said that in order to control malaria, the focus should be on controlling parasite transmission rather than eliminating mosquitos.
There are 961 diagnostic services for malaria in Sindh, the programme director said. She added that the government is playing their part to increase the number of the services.