PhD Candidate, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)
mortality and infection have declined in many parts of India over the last decade, tribal regions of India continue to have high prevalence and mortality. About 80% of malaria reported in the country is restricted to tribal areas which are home to just 20% of India’s population. Understanding and addressing the reasons for this regional disparity would be critical to ensure successful elimination of malaria in India.
Radhika Sundararajan and colleagues sought to identify the reasons that might impede the success of malaria control programs in tribal areas in their 2013 study titled ‘Barriers to Malaria Control among Marginalized Tribal Communities: A Qualitative Study‘. The study was carried out in the tribal-dominated Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, India. Forests cover more than 75% of the geographical area of this district and tribal communities make up nearly 40% of the population. Government health-care infrastructure in the district comprises of 1 district hospital, 12 rural hospitals, 45 primary health centres (PHCs) and 375 primary health units. The National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) is implemented in the district through doctors stationed at PHCs and Community Health Workers (CHWs) who travel to villages to provide preventive care, testing and treatment. Despite having such extensive health-care infrastructure in place, why were malaria control programs less successful in the district?
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