Malaria and migration in India

Photo: Marco Corsi/Sigma Tau

The high incidence of malaria along India’s national borders is creating a real challenge for malaria elimination. Border areas tend to be geographically hard-to-reach areas (forestation, geographically inaccessible, climatically harsh) that are home to high-risk and often marginalized groups such as migrant and mobile populations, shifting cultivators and tribal/ethnic groups.1

What is more, the health seeking behaviour of these groups is compromised by non-optimal health and community systems. Legal and political issues also limit their movement and activities, which makes the situation more complex. Furthermore, as these populations tend to be poor and uneducated, gender barriers also exist and create hurdles for access to critical malaria services.1

In many remote border areas, gender inequalities hindering effective responses to malaria and health vulnerabilities for women exist that need to be addressed.1 The continuous influx of mobile and migrant populations from neighbouring moderate or high endemic states and countries with artemisinin resistance (e.g. from Myanmar) could also introduce drug resistance to India, which further complicates malaria case management and elimination.1