Malaria Elimination: Are We Assessing Needs?
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Malaria elimination targeted by year 2030 has been planned with strategic implementation in phased manner. The core strategies for elimination remain surveillance; treatment and vector control along with supportive interventions like IEC activity and capacity building. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has been evident on every sphere of life including malaria surveillance which was reduced by about 32% as indicated in World Malaria Report. Epidemiological surveillance is an important tool to know the prevalence/ incidence of cases and also about recent or past infections in the area. The entomological surveillance is equally important to correlate the epidemiological findings with entomological parameters and establish the risk of transmission in the area.
The basic challenge in performing the surveillance is the availability of skilled human resource both in terms of epidemiologist and entomologist. The epidemiological survey needs public health specialists and epidemiologists whereas the entomological survey requires entomologists or public health entomologists. The vector control experts are responsible to implement the strategy who may or may not be pure Entomologist. The actual assessments of human resource, capacity and capability of the system to deliver the services of malaria elimination need to be initiated. World Health Organization in its document ‘Global Vector Control Response’ has also emphasized on such assessment especially on strengthening entomological component. In the absence of such assessment, the ad hoc arrangements are usually made by engaging contractual workforce with different specialization thus requiring 2 to 3 years field training. Their attrition also poses a big challenge; therefore, every country needs to assess and ensure the availability of skilled human resource and retain them else malaria elimination will remain a dream.
Keywords: Malaria elimination, Vector control, Skilled entomologist
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