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World Malaria Day: WHO Calls For Equitable Health Access

On World Malaria Day 2024, Saima Wazed, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia asked to unite under the theme ‘Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world’

World Malaria Day: WHO Calls For Equitable Health Access
Ms Saima Wazed said their journey towards malaria elimination is still far from over

New Delhi: On World Malaria Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasised on the need for heightened focus on addressing the obstacles to health equity, gender equality and human rights in malaria responses. Saima Wazed, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, stressed on redoubling efforts to overcome challenges posed by malaria and ensure all individuals, irrespective of their socio-economic status or geographical location, have access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for the disease. Ms Wazed said,

Moreover, by leveraging digital technology, we can better understand the diverse health needs of populations, collect and analyse data and monitor progress in real-time, enabling us to identify and address health inequities through both proven interventions and innovation in service delivery.

She said,

On World Malaria Day 2024, we unite under the theme ‘Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world’.

Watch: Empowering Communities On World Immunization Week 2024

This theme, which is in sync with this year’s World Health Day theme — “My Health, My Right” — underscores the urgent need to address the stark inequities that persist in access to malaria prevention, detection and treatment services.

Ms Wazed said in recent years, global efforts to reduce malaria have stagnated, posing a significant threat to public health and exacerbating inequalities within communities.

Everyone has the right to quality, timely and affordable malaria services, yet this remains elusive for many, perpetuating a cycle of inequity that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable among us, she stated.

Infants and young children, especially those under five, are particularly affected, with disparities in access to education and financial resources compounding their risk, Ms Wazed said, adding that pregnant women also face heightened risks as pregnancy reduces immunity to malaria, making them more susceptible to infection and severe disease.

She added that refugees, migrants, internally displaced people and indigenous people are also at heightened risk of malaria. The WHO regional director for South-East Asia said,

Malaria remains a significant public health challenge in our region, affecting nine out of eleven countries and accounting for a third of the global burden outside Africa.

She added,

Despite the formidable obstacles we face, I am heartened by the progress we have made in recent years. In recent years, our region witnessed a substantial decline in malaria cases and deaths, marking the most significant reduction among all WHO regions.

Ms Wazed said their journey towards malaria elimination is still far from over. “While several countries are on track to meet the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) targets, challenges persist, particularly, in countries like Indonesia and Myanmar, where case incidence has seen an increase,” she said.

Accelerate the fight against malaria for a more equitable world by ending discrimination and stigma, engaging communities in health decision-making and bringing healthcare close to where people live and work through primary health care, Ms Wazed said.

Also Read: After COVID, World Health Organization Defines Disease Spread ‘Through Air’

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.


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