Punjab, with WHO’s support, launches plan to eliminate malaria by 2020

The Punjab government, with technical support from the World Health Organization Country Office for India launched a micro strategic plan to eliminate malaria from the state by 2020 on 26 September 2018.

The micro strategic plan provides a road map for malaria elimination in Punjab. It also details WHO India’s technical support to the state for implementation of the strategic plan.

At a meeting chaired by Mr Brahm Mohindra, Health Minister, Government of Punjab, senior officials of the state government, including Mr Satish Chandra, Additional Chief Secretary Health; Dr Neeraj Dhingra, Additional Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, and Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India discussed malaria control program efforts in the state, the feasibility of elimination by end 2020 and the need for specific tailored accelerated action to achieve the goal.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mohindra said, “Punjab is committed for micro-level surveillance under which, each and every reported case of malaria would be investigated.”

Demonstrating the commitment of the state government to eliminating malaria, the Health Minister announced the recruitment of 300 male workers and additional supervisory staff in the state.

Congratulating the state government for launching the micro strategic plan to eliminate malaria, Dr Bekedam said, “Punjab is well-poised to achieve malaria elimination and could be the first state to do so by 2020.”

“To reach the target, specific actions need to be taken, including improved case-based surveillance, private sector and community engagement and regular program reviews with readjustments, as needed,” he added.

Dr Bekedam also highlighted the potential of using the Integrated Health Information Platform for real-time malaria surveillance.

Welcoming the WHO-Punjab state collaboration, Dr Dhingra said that it will lead to the development of a model that can be replicated in other low transmission states.

The occasion was also graced by Mr Amit Kumar, Mission Director, National Health Mission; Dr Jaspal Kaur, Director Health Services and other senior health officers of the state; and senior WHO experts, Dr Nicole Seguy and Dr Roop Kumari.