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‘Mera India’ Initiative for Malaria

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on April 25, 2019 launched the ‘Malaria Elimination Research Alliance (MERA) India’, a gathering of partners working together to plan and scale up research to eliminate Malaria from India by 2030. 

MERA India alliance holds utmost importance to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the operational research. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier appreciated India’s research in malaria and hence, the country now aims to ensure its elimination by 2030.

The alliance was launched on the occasion of the World Malaria Day 2019.

Objective
The principal motive of the ‘MERA India’ alliance is to prioritise, plan, conduct, and scale up research in a coordinated way to have a solid impact on the population who are at risk of malaria.India has made impressive progress in malaria control in the recent years. The malaria burden in India declined by over 80 percent from 2.03 million cases in 2000 to 0.39 million in 2018. Deaths by malaria also declined by over 90 percent from 932 deaths in 2000 to 85 in 2018.

Highlights of ‘MERA India’ alliance

• The National Vector Borne Diseases Control Program (NVBDCP) developed a comprehensive framework to achieve “Malaria free India by 2030”.

• The NVBDCP’s National Strategic Plan recognises the critical role of research to support and guide malaria elimination efforts.

• The MERA India does not duplicate the international efforts to eliminate Malaria rather complement the efforts on a national scale.

• The alliance will facilitate trans-institutional coordination and collaboration around a collaborative research agenda.

All about Malaria

• Malaria is caused by a Plasmodium Parasites that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. 

• In humans, the parasites (called sporozoites) migrate to the liver where they mature and release another form, the merozoites.

• The majority of Malaria symptoms are caused by the massive release of merozoites into the bloodstream such as anaemia is caused by the destruction of the red blood cells.

• There are five parasites that can cause Malaria in humans and the deadliest of all is Plasmodium Falciparum

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