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China Malaria free country UPSC Current affairs

China Declared as Malaria free country by World Health Organisation

China Declared as Malaria free country by World Health Organisation

#GS1 #Health related issues #Policy Interventions

Context: With the effort of seven decade-long, multi-pronged health strategy China was able to entirely eliminate indigenous cases for four straight years.

About Malaria Free Status:

  • China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades.
  • China reported 30 million cases of Malaria annually in 1940s but no indigenous case was reported for four consecutive years.
  • WHO grants the certification when a country has proven –with credible evidence, that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes has been interrupted countrywide for at least the past three consecutive years along with the capacity to prevent the re-occurrence of transmission?
  • The final decision will be taken based on a recommendation by the independent Malaria Elimination Certification Panel (MECP).
  • In Western Pacific region the countries that have achieved this status include Australia (1981), Singapore (1982) and Brunei Darussalam (1987).
  • Globally, 40 countries and territories have been granted a malaria-free certification from WHO – including, most recently, El Salvador in 2021, Algeria in 2019 and Argentina also in 2019.

How did China achieve this feat?

  • China started working out where malaria was spreading and began to combat in 1950s using preventative anti-malarial medicines.
  • It reduced mosquito breeding grounds and sprayed insecticide in homes.
  • In 1967, China had launched a scientific programme to look after new malaria treatments, which led to the discovery of artemisinin which are the most effective antimalarial drugs.
    • Artemisinin is the core compound of artemisinin-based combination therapies, the most effective antimalarial drugs available today.
  • In the 1980s, China began using insecticide-treated nets widely, distributing 2.4 million nets by 1988.
  • 1-3-7 Strategy:
    • A one-day deadline to report a malaria diagnosis
    • Confirming a case and determining the spread by the third day, and
    • Measures taken to stop the spread by the seventh day, along with continued surveillance in high-risk areas.
  • Global Fund: With assistance from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria starting in 2003, China “stepped up training, staffing, laboratory equipment, medicines and mosquito control

About Malaria:

  • It is Caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans.
  • Female Anopheles mosquitoes deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host and acts as disease vector.
  • Four kinds of malaria parasites infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae.
    • In addition, P. knowlesi, a type of malaria that naturally infects macaques in Southeast Asia, also infects humans, causing malaria that is transmitted from animal to human (“zoonotic” malaria).
  • Malaria is one of the major causes of preventable death in the world today. It affects more than 500 million people worldwide and causes 1 to 2 million deaths every year. It is a tropical infectious disease and almost 90 per cent of the cases are from Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • There are two ways to deal with malaria – prevent the mosquito bite from happening (i.e preventative steps) or attack the parasites once they have infected the body.

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