“Malaria cases are down in India by 60% in 2018 compared to 2017”
National Dialogue on Protecting Communities: Vector Control in Action
Vector diseases such as malaria still plague India. Malaria treatment should, therefore, be a compulsory part of training to all doctors and public health workers, suggested the Principal Advisor (Public Health), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India– Dr N. S. Dharmshaktu.
He was speaking at ASSOCHAM’s National Dialogue on Protecting Communities: Vector Control in Action in New Delhi on September 26, 2018. Describing the hurdles to Vector-Borne Disease control in India, Dr Dharmshaktu suggested several other measures to put a stop to the problem. His suggestions included vector control components in smart cities and web-based reporting of all Vector Borne Diseases (VBD) cases.
The conference was also graced by the presence of Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare – Dr P. K. Sen who outlined the danger posed by Vector Borne Diseases to India. The government is taking steps to control VBDs he assured the gathering, adding that Malaria cases are down by 60 per cent in 2018 compared to the same in 2017. He also batted for a more efficient surveillance and reporting mechanism, deployment of efficient human resources and increased coordination between different stakeholders.
Dr Sen said that technology will be crucial in stemming the tide of vector-borne disease epidemics. Technologies such as disease surveillance system and web-based reporting need to be strengthened to tackle the sporadic epidemics that are endemic to India. Such technologies will help track diseases in real time and help policymakers devise optimum strategies to fight them.
“India is endemic to vector-borne diseases. We must all, therefore, work together to combat the problem and here Public-Private partnerships can play a major role,” observed Dr Arun Kumar, Head of South Asia, Bayer Environmental Science.
“Diseases do not just cause sickness but also become an economic burden to the families. Endemic to India, vector-borne diseases are therefore serious health and financial issue for India,” stated Dr Sunil M. Raheja, Additional Director General, Public Health-IV, IDSP, NVBDCP, Government of NCT of Delhi.
In his Welcome Remarks at the conference Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary-General, ASSOCHAM dwelt on the reasons behind the surge in VBDs in India. While cases of malaria are decreasing, dengue cases doubled between 2015 and 2017 reaching 1.88 lakh cases, he noted. VBDs are outcomes of developmental issues he observed adding that they need to be addressed through multiple approaches.
The actions taken to combat VBDs must be scientific and evidence-based asserted the Country Lead – Routine Immunization and Neglected Tropical Diseases, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Dr Bhupendra Tripathi. Public Private Partnerships are essential to restrict the spread of VBDs in India he noted.
The event also witnessed the release of a knowledge paper jointly prepared by ASSOCHAM and Azoth Analytics Pvt Ltd titled “Controlling Vector-Borne Diseases: An Indian Perspective.”
The inaugural sessions was followed by extensive discussions on the themes: “Managing Diseases: How can Vector Control play a pivotal role?” And “Vector Control Challenges in Urban India: Novel Approaches & Community Driven Tools”, both moderated by Dr Ranju Anthony, Managing Director, TRK Consultants Pvt Ltd.
The conference was graced by the presence of dignitaries such as Head of South Asia, Bayer Environmental Science – Dr Arun Kumar; Director, Azoth Analytics Pvt Ltd – Matloob Hasan; Director (Health), NITI Aayog – Dr. S. Rajesh; Joint Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme – Dr. Kalpana Baruah; Additional Director General, Public health – IV, NVBDCP Waterborne Diseases Control – Dr Sunil M. Raheja; US Health Attache, India & Regional Representative – South Asia, US Department of Health and Human Services – Dr Preetha Rajaraman; and the Assistant Secretary General, ASSOCHAM – Dr Om S. Tyagi, besides many others.
Dr N. S. Dharmshaktu, Principal Advisor (Public Health), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India addressing the gathering at the ASSOCHAM’s National Dialogue on Protecting Communities: Vector Control in Action in New Delhi on September 26, 2018.