Malaria elimination: Civic body to focus on five high-risk wards
While the city’s overall API continues to be below one, five wards namely- A, C, E, F South, and G South- have an API over one
Mumbai Two years after Mumbai’s malaria elimination plan took a backseat due to the pandemic, officials have intensified the campaign with the civic body focusing on five high prevalence wards that continue to report more cases than the rest of the city.
The state capital has been in the elimination phase since 2017 when the city’s Annual Parasite Index (API) went below one. API is defined as the number of confirmed new malaria cases registered in a specific year, expressed per 1,000 individuals under surveillance, for a given country, territory, or geographic area.
While the city’s overall API continues to be below one, five wards namely- A, C, E, F South, and G South- have an API over one.
“We have started working on a Mumbai action plan to eliminate malaria,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, the city’s executive health officer.
She added that they will focus on the five wards with high API. “Mumbai already has an active door-to-door surveillance, but we have issued an order to all laboratories and private practitioners to notify positive cases to further strengthen the surveillance.”
While Mumbai’s API is 0.40, the API of A ward (Churchgate, Colaba, NavyNagar etc) is 1.1, C ward (Pydhonie, Bhuleshwar) is 1.44, E ward (Byculla, Agripada, Chinchpolki, etc.,) is 1.89, F South ward (Parel) is 1.30 and G South ward (Worli, Prabhadevi) is 3.08.
In addition to the door-to-door case detection and blood sample collection, the city’s malaria control activities include weekly anti-larval treatment at construction sites, mosquito proofing water storage tanks, releasing guppy fish in open water bodies and wells, fogging and spraying of insecticides in places where water is accumulated.
“Some of the mega projects in the city, such as the overground and underground metro construction work, the coastal road and other multi-storey construction projects contribute to the sources of vector breeding,” said Mumbai’s insecticide officer Dr Rajan Naringrekar.
“The underground metro has now completed the slab casting work, so we will be able to access some breeding spots which have been inaccessible to us for the past several months. Our intensified elimination plan will include increased frequency of vector control activities,” he said.
According to Naringrekar, the malaria parasite is very much present, especially at the construction sites, where workers come from many other states, where the incidence of malaria may be higher.
The city recorded 4,357 malaria cases in 2019, 5,007 in 2020 and 5,193 in 2021. One death was reported in 2020. With the disease now made notifiable for all public and private facilities, the number of cases is likely to increase. There are five parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and two of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – are commonly found in Mumbai.
“P. falciparum is known to cause deaths, and in 2021, we saw a higher number of P.falciparum cases in Mumbai,” said Dr Anita Inamdar, senior medical officer (surveillance). “We will be closely following each and every case in order to avoid even a single death. Our action plan for the city is focused on more detections, timely reporting from public and private sector, early initiation and completion of treatment, capacity building and campaigns for behavioural change,” she said.