Malaria No More (MNM) in collaboration with the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Assam organised a workshop to deliberate on malaria elimination strategies for the state. The workshop engaged with key health officers, both from the Regional Office of Health and Family Welfare and the State Health Department of Assam. The goal of the workshop was to develop a state-specific malaria elimination strategy, in collaboration with the state government, and help reduce the burden of the disease in Assam while strengthening the efforts towards malaria elimination.
Malaria continues to pose a public health challenge across the tribal belts and rural communities of Assam. Despite progress in reducing malaria’s burden in the state, there is still much work to be done to achieve the goal of malaria elimination.
The workshop took a holistic approach in its execution and focused on a range of themes linked to malaria elimination. These included assessing the preparedness for elimination in the state, re-aligning strategies from control to elimination, the need for improved surveillance and case management, the use of innovative tools and technologies, integration of improved data collection and management tools, and the importance of community engagement and social behavior change interventions. The Director Health Services, Govt. of Assam along with Mr. Pratik Kumar, Country Director, Malaria No More enlisted a comprehensive way forward for crafting “State and District Specific Malaria Elimination Plans”.
Addressing the workshop, Dr. M.S. Lakshmi Priya, IAS, Mission Director, National Health Mission Assam said “To achieve malaria elimination in the state of Assam, surveillance and treatment compliance need to be robust. The most important person for any health program is the last patient suffering with the disease, identifying and treating them is critical to achieve elimination. We are in the business of saving lives and improving the quality of life for future generations. I am glad Malaria No More India has offered support to the Government of Assam for this endeavor – their experience of supporting other states with their respective malaria programs is reassuring and instills confidence.”
Mr. Pratik Kumar, Country Director, Malaria No More India; commenting on the workshop said, “The workshop was successful in deliberating and laying a roadmap for the development of a targeted state and district specific malaria elimination plans for the state of Assam. Building on our experience of supporting elimination efforts in the state of Odisha, we hope to similarly collaborate and support the state of Assam in building robust mechanisms and strategies to help the state achieve this ambition and move our country one step closer to a Malaria Mukt Bharat.”
The workshop resulted in laying the foundations for the development of a comprehensive and targeted strategy to eliminate malaria in Assam, which included earmarked interventions to reduce the burden of the disease, increased investment in malaria research, and improved community engagement. The workshop also emphasizes the need for collaboration between diverse stakeholders such as civil society, private sector, industry, global philanthropies, and so on to ensure the success of malaria elimination efforts in the state.