Mumbai: ‘Achieving a malaria-free India’, a first-of-its-kind conclave, organized by the Godrej Group in partnership with the Vector Control Research Center (VCRC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was held at Godrej ONE, Mumbai.
Stakeholders representing thought leaders from government, academia, private sector and social & non-profit organizations, discussed the need and merits of partnerships and collaborations in achieving a malaria-free India.
The key highlight of the conclave was a panel discussion on ‘Partnerships and Collaborations towards achieving malaria-free India’. Insightful discussions on India’s current challenges, lessons from the past, the merits and challenges of partnerships, roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and concrete next steps to make the vision a reality were discussed.
It was a power-packed panel comprising Prof. Dr. Sabesan, Senior Consultant, VCRC; Dr. Anup Anvikar, National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR); Shireen Mistree, India Health Fund, Tata Trusts; Neeraj Jain, Country Director, India, PATH and Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. Indrajit Gupta, Director and Co-founder, Founding Fuel moderated the panel.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group, said, “Malaria continues to be one of the most significant public health issues confronting India today, with about 1.5 million new cases detected every year. Our Health Ministry has endorsed the goal of achieving a malaria-free India by 2030. Given the scale of the vision outlined, the importance of partnerships and collaborations is paramount. In line with this, our conclave today, aims to create and facilitate impactful conversations on malaria elimination among key thought leaders from the ecosystem.”
The Chief Guest of the conclave, Dr. Shampa Nag, Project Director, Caritas India, said, “Partnerships and collaborations present continuous opportunities within the ambit of multisectoral approach. They act as catalyzing factors for bridging the physical and behavioural barriers and enabling the motivators/influencers to expand application of interventions as well as strengthening community systems alongside extending support to improve overall health systems. Leveraging distinctive strengths of stakeholders, the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP), civil society organizations & corporate sector, donor & partner agencies, and others should reaffirm the commitment to advance our common elimination vision.”
Speaking at the conclave, Mr. Vivek Gambhir, Managing Director, Godrej Consumer Products Limited, said, “With project EMBED (Elimination of Mosquito Borne Endemic Diseases), we have embarked on a journey of collaboration with various stakeholders, including the government, social sector, and the community. With gradual reductions in the malaria burden in our pilot districts, our project model is a testament to the productivity and importance of partnerships. As a FMCG player with a robust household insecticide portfolio, we have brought financial resources, knowledge on mosquito behaviours and prevention strategies, and a strong understanding of community members, to the fight against malaria. To further our outreach efforts, we have partnered with the VCRC for this conclave and will continue to work in collaboration with them to develop an action-oriented way forward from the discussions of the conclave today.”
The conclave saw meaningful deliberations on malaria elimination, including: individual paper presentations by students of VCRC on different aspects of vector borne diseases; a presentation on Godrej Consumer Products’ pilot project EMBED by Dr. Vikas Goswami, Head Sustainability, Good & Green, Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies and Dr. Bitra George, Country Head, India, FHI 360. Prof. Dr. S. Sabesan unveiled a research paper on ‘Public Private Partnership (PPP) towards malaria elimination in India’.
The conclave was part of Godrej Group’s awareness platform, launched with the vision to create and facilitate impactful conversations around key issues that are of national significance. The platform will continue to engage with diverse stakeholders groups including government, academia, NGOs, regulatory bodies, industry bodies, media and digital influencers on socially relevant subjects.
Malaria in India:
India has the highest malaria burden in the Asia Pacific region, with more than one billion people at risk of infection. Official estimates reveal 10 lakh cases of malaria reported in the country every year. India accounts for 70% of malaria cases and 69% of malaria deaths in the South East Asia region. Over 80% of India’s population lives in ‘malaria transmission high-risk’ areas
The Government of India has made a commitment to eliminate malaria from the country by 2030, in line with the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) and Global Technical Strategy for Malaria. Eliminating malaria in India will result in substantial public health improvement in the country, and would also lead to important improvements in the economic situation for families burdened by malaria.