Officials from the Indian state of Orissa met recently to outline a malaria control strategy that aims to reduce by 50% the number of deaths from the disease by 2010, Newindpress.com reports.
Twenty percent of people affected by malaria in India reside in Orissa, and 40% of the country's malaria deaths have been recorded in the state, according to Newindpress.com. Health workers in 2004 examined 4,369,000 blood samples, and 417,000 tested positive for malaria. About 84% of those were Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Newindpress.com reports.
The number of malaria-related deaths has decreased with the implementation of the National Malaria Eradication Program. According to Newindpress.com, 283 people died of malaria in 2004, compared with 253 this year. About 70% of India's total malaria cases are reported in rural areas, Newindpress.com reports.
Doctor shortages and inadequate health infrastructures are some of the factors that have been identified as challenges to improving malaria control. There are at least 723 positions in different health community centers that need to be filled.
The standing committee recommended that new malaria control strategies focus on raising awareness about the disease, as well as prevention and treatment efforts. The house committee also suggested that all vacant health worker positions be filled on a contract basis for the upcoming year, Newindpress.com reports.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation