As we know that COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the whole world. Since March 2020, we have all been inundated with what is happening all around the world on COVID-19. Clearly there is a lot that we don't know and the uncertainty weighs on all of us. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by the virus either directly or indirectly. At the same time, our hearts also go out to those at the front line, medical staff and care givers who put themselves at risk to do all it takes to serve others.
Government of India has taken various preventive and mitigating measures for the containment of Covid-19 epidemic in the country. In compliance to this Government of India has done the nation-wide lockdown to slowdown the spread of corona virus. The corona virus crisis is disproportionately harming the millions of poor peoples, daily wages workers, migrant workers and homeless people etc. with a severe risk of being exposed to the disease and are also expected to bear a disproportionate brunt of the economic fallout of this unprecedented health emergency.
Due to the lockdown many people have lost their daily income and are forced to remain indoors. While some of them managed to purchase supplies, many are still unable to gather resources. Although the government has announced ration, these peoples may not have the required documents and cards to avail these benefits.
As Malaria No More India, we were doing our part as an organization. We actively worked to provide support in the form of distributing cooked foods, dry rations, safety kits etc. in the community as a relief response to the pandemic in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha States of the country.
World Malaria Day is observed on 25th April 2020 every year. OnWorld Malaria Day, Malaria No More lauds India’s efforts and consistent progress for working towards a malaria free India. Since India is highly endemic to the vector borne diseases, the Central and State Governments have collaboratively curbed the number of cases thereby reducing the socio-economic impact on the vulnerable sections.
This year coronavirus pandemic is irrefutably one of the most tragic and disruptive events of this millennium. Covid-19 has cost thousands of lives across the globe and has brought the world to a screeching halt. One of the areas of concern here is about balancing India’s current coronavirus-related public health priorities and maintaining functioning of existing health programmes.
Malaria is one of those crucial public health priorities for India. In pre-monsoon season, India can’t afford to forget about malaria. Even during the coronavirus pandemic. In the pre-monsoon season, India cannot forget about malaria even during the coronavirus epidemic.
Measures such as mass-screening camps, sanitation, vector control, and fogging play a crucial role in limiting malaria’s potential in monsoon. However, these may face a setback given our workforce’s current involvement to tackle Covid-19. For example, the majority of municipal staff – including domestic mosquito breeding checkers – who usually perform sanitation work are now consumed with activities such as contact tracing for Covid-19 cases. This has already resulted in an increase in mosquitoes in some areas in Delhi, among other regions.
Speaking on the concerns, Dr. Gaikwad said “Our health and essential workforce is working remarkably to limit COVID’s potential in India, but as India prepares to enter monsoon in a few weeks and upsurge in mosquitoes is already getting reported, it’s crucial that we strategize in a way that also keeps malaria in control. This will be important in ensuring that our health system won’t also get swamped with people with malaria, and COVID is dealt with appropriately”
Continuous rise in Covid-19 cases can change India's priority, but intensive control of mosquito breeding grounds (sites), which is required during these critical months, may be affected. While this pandemic is a painfully bizarre experience and a pressing new priority to deal with, it’s important that existing public health issues are not kept on the backburner during these times. Malaria has wreaked havoc on Indian society over the years.
Submitted by Manisha Gautam, Communications Lead – Malaria No More India