ICMR, MOHFW and Sun Pharma announce public-private-partnership for Malaria Free India

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Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW) and Sun Pharma has announced India’s first public-private-partnership agreement for Malaria Free India and other innovation in preventive health. This was announced by Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Director General – ICMR, Principal Secretary Health Mrs. Gauri Singh Govt of Madhya Pradesh and Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma as a unique effort to draw public – private sector collaboration in promoting preventive health measures. The public private-partnership stakeholders will jointly undertake malaria control & elimination programme by setting-up Management & Technical Committees to provide oversight for disease surveillance & elimination.

Under the aegis of this unique public-private-partnership, ICMR, MOHFW and Sun Pharma will establish a malaria elimination demonstration project titled Malaria Free India, to support the national framework for elimination of malaria in India. The demonstration project will be launched in one of the most malaria endemic districts of Madhya Pradesh and implemented in a phased manner, beginning with Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh. The public-private-partnership stakeholders will execute the malaria elimination programme over a span of 3 to 5 years.

According to the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Sh J P Nadda, “The first of its kind public-private-agreement between ICMR & Sun Pharma reiterates India’s commitment to eliminate malaria. Implementing Malaria elimination demonstration project will aim to reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by malaria in this demonstration project as well as prevention of re-introduction of malaria. The lessons learned would be used for elimination of malaria from the country by the national program. I believe that this partnership has a potential to create sustainable impact by reducing malaria morbidity and improving people’s health. This will enable us to alleviate poverty within the target geographies through cost effective interventions and improvement of overall development and quality of life.”

According to the Director General Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, “I am pleased that ICMR is partnering with Sun Pharma in a malaria elimination demonstration project. The proposed public-private partnership for malaria elimination will use the same available and tested strategies of case management (diagnosing and treating all symptomatic and asymptomatic cases through mass screening), intense surveillance and vector control by using indoor residual sprays and long-lasting insecticide impregnated bednets. Community participation and IEC will be key components. This project aims to demonstrate that it is feasible to eliminate malaria from a high endemic district, and will hopefully become a pathfinder for the rest of the country. It is also a unique model of collaboration between the central and state governments, a private pharma company and ICMR, and could pave the way for more private investment in public health.”

Commenting on its Malaria Free India public-private-partnership initiative, Mr Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma said, “Malaria is a major public health problem. It is known to impede development, saving and investment as well as worker productivity in the form of absenteeism. All this has an adverse impact on per-capita gross domestic product. Moreover, there is a strong correlation between malaria and poverty. Malaria endemic countries have shown significantly lower rates of economic growth. Through our Malaria Free India initiative we aim to achieve zero malaria incidences in more than 1,200 villages of Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh by FY21. The experience gained from Mandla project will guide the development of broader plans for malaria elimination in Madhya Pradesh as well as other high malaria endemic States in India.”

The Malaria Free India public-private-partnership initiative will also demonstrate health benefits of clean environment as envisioned by Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan initiative. The project team will work with local Panchayats on the usefulness of eliminating water bodies around households. The significant deliverable of this particular component of the project will be to reduce mosquito breeding sites in the project districts. As part of the project implementation plan, recommendations will be made for improving health systems and services. The results of this evaluation would aid private and governmental agencies to better target aid to Primary Health Centers.

For operationalizing the Malaria Free India goals, Sun Pharma will establish a not-for-profit foundation. This Foundation will operate as an independent entity by engaging national and international experts as knowledge partners for the project while remaining accountable to the Malaria Free India public-private-partnership stakeholders. The Malaria Free India demonstration project is in line with Sun Pharma’s CSR efforts for holistic development of underserved communities in a sustainable and impactful manner. This unique Malaria Free India public private-partnership gives Sun Pharma an opportunity to play a significant role in eliminating malaria. A team of over 200 members will be part of the implementation of this demonstration project.

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