MALARIA IN INDIA
T H E S H A N TA N U T O M A R F O U N D AT I O N W O R K S I N A R E A S O F
E D U C A T I O N , H E A LT H C A R E A N D E N V I R O N M E N T W I T H A
SPECIAL FOCUS ON MALARIA AND OTHER VECTOR -BORNE
DISEASES IN INDIA.
W E B : W W W. S H A N TA N U . O R G | E M A I L : C O N TA C T @ S H A N TA N U . O R G
2 5 TH A P R I L , 2 0 1 0
SOURCES: ROLL BACK MALARIA | WHO WORLD MALARIA REPORT 2008 |
GROUNDREPORT.COM | UNITED AGAINST MALARIA
World Malaria Day: April 25th, 2010
This 25th of April marks the third World Malaria Day, instituted to recognize global efforts to
effectively control Malaria. The Shantanu Tomar Foundation intends to support and participate
in the battle against this serious disease and this publication is aimed at creating awareness.
Why are we talking about Malaria?
For centuries India has been plagued by vector-borne diseases, which are only accelerated and
intensified due to climate change and rapid urbanization. We are frequently traumatized by
epidemics such as Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya or Encephalitis, to name the most rampant
Despite concerted efforts by the Government for decades, Malaria remains the number one
health concern in India, along with TB and HIV/AIDS.
Although malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, every year there are over 250 Million
cases and over 1 million deaths worldwide.
Malaria: Some key facts & findings
Here are some findings and statistics on Malaria:-
According to WHO’s World Malaria Report 2008, there were an estimated 10.6 Million cases of
Malaria in India in 2006.
This is hardly comparable to the estimated 1.5 Million Malaria cases in 2008 as per The
Government of India (NVBDCP), but what is alarming is that half of these were the deadly
Plasmodium falciparum strain of Malaria.
Half the world’s population today is at risk of Malaria. 67% of these numbers come from Asia
Pacific (due to highly populated countries in this region). India shares the highest risk with 45%
of estimated cases in the Asia Pacific region.
91% of the Indian population at risk lives in areas of high transmission of both strains of Malaria
(Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum). Frequent epidemics occur in India and are often
caused by large seasonal weather events. Malaria is endemic in all of India except at elevations
above 1800 meters and in some coastal areas.
Malaria: Some key facts & findings contd.
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab account for 67% of all
cases in India.
Orissa, Assam & Maharashtra account for 80% of all Plasmodium falciparum Malaria which is
Five countries (India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) account for
approximately 93% of the death toll in the Asia Pacific region.
India alone accounts for 38% mortality in Asia Pacific.
Some unofficial estimates place India’s death toll due to Malaria at 40,000 annually.
We frequently find media reports on epidemics such as Dengue or Swine Flu which reflect mass
panic (unofficial figures for swine flu cases in 2009 were approximately 13000 with 400+ deaths)
but there has been very little importance attached to one of India’s largest health hazards -
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes but is preventable and
treatable. The parasite is transmitted from person to person through the bite of a female
Anopheles mosquito, which requires blood to nurture her eggs.
There are four types of human malaria:
1. P. vivax
2. P. malariae
3. P. ovale
4. P. falciparum
P. vivax and P. falciparum are the most common with P. falciparum being the most deadly type
of malaria infection.
The malaria parasite enters the human host when an infected Anopheles mosquito takes a blood
meal. Inside the human host, the parasite undergoes a series of changes as part of its complex
life-cycle. Malaria symptoms appear about 9 to 14 days after the infectious mosquito bite,
although this varies with different plasmodium species.
Symptoms and Prevention
Prevention of Malaria in India can be achieved through the
Typically, malaria produces
fever, headache, vomiting and Vector Control
other flu-like symptoms. Personal Protection - by preventing mosquito bites, using sprays,
insecticide treated mosquito nets etc.
If drugs are not available for Preventive Treatment – especially to those who live in high risk
areas and pregnant women. In India, certain states are more
treatment or the parasites are prone to the deadly P. falciparum strain of Malaria and therefore
resistant to them, the infection it is up to the doctors in such regions to administer anti-malarial
can progress rapidly to become drugs for early intervention.
life-threatening. Malaria can kill Responsible citizenship – especially in new construction areas
where large real estate projects are under way, civic bodies,
by infecting and destroying red communities and the developers in charge should ensure that
blood cells (anemia) and by there is no water logging or opportunities for vector breeding.
clogging the capillaries that Collaboration – between the Governments, civil societies and
carry blood to the brain infrastructure developers to plan and create efficient waste
management systems and breeding prevention programs.
(cerebral malaria) or other vital Creating awareness about this disease, its prevention and
Even though this disease has been known for centuries we are yet to receive a vaccine for
Malaria. The evolution of mosquitoes and their increasing resistance to known drugs is a constant
cause of concern.
Anti-Malarial drugs can stem the development of malarial parasites in the blood thereby
suppressing the disease.
P. falciparum Malaria needs immediate medical attention as it can be potentially fatal. This strain
has very high mortality rates and initial diagnosis may be complicated so people living in high risk
areas should consult their doctors as soon as symptoms appear and assess if there is a need for
Anti Malarial drugs.
Why we work with Malaria
In August 2009, Shantanu was diagnosed with P. falciparum Malaria. He
had moved to Mumbai in July 2009 and had a bright career in a law firm
to look forward to. He lived and worked in what are considered
upmarket, clean areas and was a healthy 25 year old. He was
misdiagnosed by two senior doctors, first for viral and then for jaundice,
thereby delaying the administration of life saving anti-malarial drugs.
Understanding that Maharashtra is a high risk area for P. falciparum
Malaria would have given Shantanu, his doctors and his family a chance
to stem the spread of this deadly disease in time.
The Shantanu Tomar Foundation has been established in Shantanu’s
memory, to honour his achievements and values and also to spread
awareness about P. falciparum Malaria. We urge readers to circulate Shantanu Singh Tomar
this document among their friends and networks and help create
awareness. web: www.shantanu.org