Study examines trends in global malaria mortality in India between 1980 and 2010; physicians can play an important public health role

In recent years, Dinghra et al estimated annual malaria deaths in India at 205,000, while  the World Health Organization's (WHO) estimates were 15,000, triggering extreme debate. Reducing  malaria deaths to zero by 2015 is a goal of the UN Secretary-General.

Numerous developments can now assist in reassessing more timely malaria death reporting. In a recent analysis, vital registration (VR) databases and verbal autopsy (VR) studies were used to develop models of estimating malaria deaths by sex, age, and country. Some predictors of malaria mortality such as Plasmodium falciparum prevalence, first-line antimalarial drug resistance, and vector control, were used in this analysis. Nonspecific data were drilled down to more clearly find malaria-related deaths.

“National estimates are not a replacement for the routine reporting of malaria deaths, which all medical professionals, public and private, have a responsibility to do.”
-Naman Shah, MD, PhD candidate and consultant epidemiologist, National Institute of Malaria Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi

Different variables were assessed based on their ability to accurately predict malaria deaths, including health-system access, insecticide-treated bednet coverage, income per head, indoor residual spraying coverage, rainfall, first-line antimalarial medication resistance, and...

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