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The Punjab government, with technical support from the World Health Organization Country Office for India launched a micro strategic plan to eliminate malaria from the state by 2020 last month.

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At a meeting chaired by Mr Brahm Mohindra, Health Minister, Government of Punjab, senior officials of the state government, including Mr Satish Chandra, Additional Chief Secretary Health; Dr Neeraj Dhingra, Additional Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, and Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India discussed malaria control program efforts in the state, the feasibility of elimination by end 2020 and the need for specific tailored accelerated action to achieve the goal.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mohindra said, “Punjab is committed for micro-level surveillance under which, each and every reported case of malaria would be investigated.” 300 workers will be recruited for the effort.

Dr Bekedam said, “Punjab is well-poised to achieve malaria elimination and could be the first state to do so by 2020.

“To reach the target, specific actions need to be taken, including improved case-based surveillance, private sector and community engagement and regular program reviews with readjustments, as needed,” he added.

Dr Bekedam also highlighted the potential of using the Integrated Health Information Platform for real-time malaria surveillance.

Punjab is an Indian state bordering Pakistan.