Joint Monitoring Mission on vector-borne diseases, India

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and the World Health Organization Country Office for India have undertaken a Joint Monitoring Mission (JMM) from 1 – 10 March 2014 to review the country’s progress towards vector-borne disease (VBD) targets of the National Health Policy (2002), malaria related Millennium Development Goals, and challenges and plans for vector control efforts.

This is the first time that a mixed approach integrating disease control and health systems has been adopted to review a national health programme and its critical functions such as stewardship, procurement, health financing and service coverage.

The outcome of the JMM aims to provide high-level advice to the Government of India and partners on strategic issues and for improving integration of vector-borne diseases with the general health system in the country.

Speaking at the briefing meeting of the mission, Mr Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare highlighted that vector-borne diseases are a major public health problem in the country. He expected that JMM will provide some concrete and feasible solutions for mid-course correction that can be taken forward for implementation along with the state counterparts.

Outlining the importance of the mission, WHO Representative to India, Dr Nata Menabde said, “In India the burden and risk of vector-borne diseases is huge and the burden is concentrated in the remote areas of the country with the poorest health systems. This exercise will review disease control efforts through the health systems lens to address gaps.”

“The mission comes at an important juncture as the theme of World Health Day 2014 is vector-borne diseases with the slogan of small bite, big threat,” she added.

Also present at the briefing meeting were Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Dr .A.C. Dhariwal, Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.

JMM participants included national and international experts from technical agencies, development agencies, national research institutes, civil society, medical colleges and non-governmental organizations.

The mission visited Assam, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The states and districts were purposively selected based on disease burden, epidemiology programme inputs and ability to inform programme decision making. In addition, a short visit of Delhi was also undertaken to study urban linkages in the prevention and control of VBDs, especially dengue.

The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme is an umbrella programme for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases, viz., malaria, lymphatic filariasis, kala-azar, dengue, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis. These diseases pose major public health problems and hamper socio-economic development.

At the debriefing meeting in New Delhi on 10 March Dr Charles Delacollette, Chairperson, Joint Monitoring Mission on vector-borne diseases, India presented the findings of the mission.

Mr Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Dr V.M. Katoch, Secretary, DHR & DG, ICMR; Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India; Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; Smt. Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary & MD and Dr A.C. Dhariwal, Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme reflected on the findings of the Joint Monitoring Mission on vector-borne diseases, India at the debriefing meeting along with other diginatries.

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