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News


Dramatic malaria reduction fuels hopes of quick elimination

By Carol Aloysius
Sri Lanka has seen a drastic reduction in malaria cases over the last few years from a whopping 200,000 cases reported annually in 2000, to a mere 196 cases last year.

This was revealed at a seminar held to mark World Malaria Day organised by the Health Education Bureau on Friday.

The dramatic decline of Malaria during the last decade, especially during the last four to five years, has fuelled hopes for the Health Ministry that the debilitating disease which had wiped out thousands of lives in the past in Sri Lanka can be completely eliminated in the near future.

Speakers, who included a panel of malaria experts, described the reduction of the incidence of the disease as “remarkable.”

They attributed this outstanding achievement to the joint effort of the central and provincial health staff, who, “worked tirelessly in some of the remotest villages in the country, with the blessings and under the guidance of a very able political leadership.”

According to the press release, other factors that contributed to the success story were, the relative peace achieved in the Eastern Province and large parts of the Northern Province, a concerted effort to improve the health of the rural populations in the country although increased accessibility in quality healthcare, the dedication of staff engaged in malaria control, and socio-economic improvement in the quality of life of the rural population.”

Political will and commitment to control malaria by the government was also cited as an important factor. Meanwhile, Ministry sources said that they hoped to eliminate falciparum malaria, which affects the brain, by 2012.

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