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Maharashtra Govt Partners with Godrej, CHRI-PATH & FH India to Tackle Vector-Borne Diseases

Written by : Jayati Dubey

November 2, 2023

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In a recent meeting held in Pune, the joint director of Health for Communicable Diseases in Maharashtra discussed the pressing need for strategies to address these challenges and officially launched the State Vector-Borne Disease Control's Technical Support Unit.

In the face of increasing concerns over vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue in Maharashtra, particularly in districts including Gadchiroli, Chandrapur, and Thane-Palghar, the state's health authorities have partnered with Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL), the Centre for Health Research and Innovation (CHRI-PATH), and Family Health India (FH India) to combat these health threats.

Dr Pratapsingh Sarnikar, the joint director of Health for Communicable Diseases in Maharashtra, said, "Climate change is causing an increase in cases even in cold regions. Dengue variants can be deadly, and we need to invest in necessary technology and prevention methods."

In a recent meeting held in Pune, Dr Sarnikar discussed the pressing need for strategies to address these challenges and officially launched the State Vector-Borne Disease Control's Technical Support Unit.

To tackle this formidable task, the state health's partnership with GCPL, CHRI-PATH, and FH India is set to provide strategic technical assistance in the fight against malaria, dengue, and chikungunya.

Malaria and other vector-borne diseases have long plagued the state of Maharashtra. While most districts in the state have reported an annual parasite index (API) of less than 1 case per 1,000 population at risk, there are exceptions, such as the eastern forest district of Gadchiroli, with a significant tribal population.

As a Category 2 state, Maharashtra is now focusing its efforts on malaria elimination, with particular attention given to the challenging Gadchiroli district.

The program also addresses the alarming increase in dengue and chikungunya cases, primarily focusing on the Thane-Palghar district. To achieve these ambitious goals, the support program is set to appoint three state-level experts and 24 district-level human resources.

These individuals will collaborate closely with the government to strengthen human and entomological surveillance, enhance case reporting, and improve the clinical management of these diseases.

Gayatri Divecha, head of CSR and Sustainability at Godrej Industries Limited and associate companies, stressed that they have been investing in malaria and other vector-borne disease control programs since 2016, reaching out to over 30 million Indians at high risk.

She added, "Our similar investments in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been instrumental in moving the states to Category 1 index. Our biggest learning is that public health problems are interconnected, deep rooted, and require large-scale systemic change and innovation. Partnerships with various government entities at the State Health departments, District Collectors, Chief Medical Officers and the people are essential to replicate success."

Dr Satyabrata Routray, director of Infectious Diseases, underlined the role of CHRI as an affiliate of PATH in India, highlighting their support for multiple state governments in implementing national programs and public health initiatives, including those related to malaria and neglected tropical diseases.

In this new project, CHRI, with funding support from GCPL's CSR initiative, will establish Technical Support Units (TSUs) at the national level and within Maharashtra. These units will provide specific technical assistance aimed at eliminating and controlling vector-borne diseases, with a primary focus on dengue, chikungunya, and malaria.

With climate change exacerbating the spread of these diseases even in colder regions, implementing advanced technology and prevention methods, as well as strengthened surveillance and case management, is crucial. By uniting the efforts of government bodies and private organisations, Maharashtra aims to make progress in its fight against malaria, dengue, and chikungunya, ultimately improving the health and well-being of its residents.


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