The Odisha government on Friday said it has been able to reduce malaria infection among the people by 90 per cent in a span of three years from 2016.
The reduction rate of malaria infection in Odisha between 2018 and 2019 has been 40 per cent against the national average of 17 per cent during the same period, an official statement said.
Director Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra said that there were around 4.44 lakh malaria positive cases and 77 deaths in 2016 which was reduced to 39, 556 positive cases and nine deaths in 2019.
Similarly, there was a reduction in positivity rate during the year 2020 with nine deaths.
"Because of the rapid reduction in the positivity rate, WHO has recorded the Odisha Model as a Best Practice in the World Malaria Report of 2020," Mishra said.
This came to the fore at the Interdepartmental Coordination meeting on prevention of vector-borne diseases held on digital mode under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra.
Reviewing the progress over the last years, the Chief Secretary directed the health department to take all preventive steps for checking any possible outbreak of the disease during the current year.
He also directed to ensure preventive steps proactively in industrial and mining areas.
It was decided to undertake intensive awareness-building activities by involving the district and block level artistes organisations (Kalakara Sangathans), Information and Public Relations principal secretary B C Sethi said.
"There are about 10,000 Kalakara Sangathans and near about 500 forms of loka kalas (folk arts) that can effectively communicate with people at community level," Sethi said.
The chief secretary also directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to focus on remote villages in hill tracks and forest areas.
It was estimated that the malaria-prone area has been reduced to 31 community health centre areas out of the total 374 CHC areas.
The chief secretary directed to focus on these areas through proactive surveillance and preventive activities, the statement said.
The annual parasite index (API) was less than one in eight districts in 2016, Mishra said.
API is the number of confirmed new cases from malaria registered in a specific year, expressed per 1,000 individuals under surveillance, for a given territory.
With improvement in the situation, the API index became less than one in 23 of the states 30 districts.