Mumbai, April 25, 2020: On World Malaria Day, Godrej Group, urges people to take precautionary measures against vector-borne diseases like malaria, dengue during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As per the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, India witnessed 3,34,693 malaria cases in 2019. This year, 19,980 malaria cases were already reported upto February. As a trend, malaria and dengue spikes up during May running upto August.
Preparation for the malaria season starts from April. With coronavirus cases rising over 23,000, the government and healthcare infrastructure are heavily invested to deal with it. However, with the ongoing pandemic, India cannot be unprepared for malaria and even dengue. In March, World Health Organisation (WHO) also issued an advisory urging countries to ensure the continuity of malaria services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Godrej Group urged authorities to empower people at the household level, to put precautionary measures to use and to safeguard themselves from a potential onslaught of any mosquito-borne disease. Due to the current lockdown, only essential products are sold which does not include solutions offering protection against mosquitoes. Thus, solutions like mosquito repellents, personal repellents, liquid vapourisers, must be brought under the purview of ‘essential goods’. This will ensure an uninterrupted supply of household insecticide products and will be easily accessible for families till the lockdown is lifted completely.
Speaking about the need for preventive measures, Sunil Kataria CEO – India & SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL), said, “COVID-19 has caused high levels of panic. While we do our best to deal with this pandemic, we should not forget the looming threat of malaria and dengue. Indian households primarily depend on mosquito repellents, vapourisers, coils to safeguard themselves. These household insecticides should be included in the items that fall under the essentials category.”
“As an industry, we are committed in appreciating and supporting the government’s or local bodies initiative in tackling the malaria and COVID-19. Some of the local bodies have commenced work on monsoon and is acting on preventive solutions which may not be foolproof for vector-borne diseases. Listing household insecticides goods such as mosquito repellents, mats, coils, liquid vaporiser as essentials goods like groceries items of everyday use and their availability during COVID-19 through kirana stores, medicals-chemists and e-commerce platforms should help consumers in protection. Needless to say that smooth supply- chain, manufacturing and raw materials from trade partners will help industry in proper delivery of goods on time. Request from HICA in this respect is pending with government for consideration”, commented, Jayant Deshpande, Secretary & Director, Home Insect Control Association (HICA) –an industry body of household insecticides sector, on how the industry can support the malaria prevention efforts of the government.
Stressing the need for sustained mosquito-prevention efforts at state level, Neeraj Jain, Country Director-India, PATH, added, “The coronavirus pandemic has taught us about the importance of investing in infectious disease management and surveillance. While government bodies in several places in India such as Kerala and Kolkata have been adopting measures to control the spread of vector-borne diseases, this is something that needs to be replicated throughout the country. April and May is when vector control measures are normally implemented in India because starting June vectors tend to spread aggressively. As the country is currently under a lockdown and people are at home, we need to ensure that they are safe from mosquitoes while they are inside too.”
The conglomerate has also released a digital film to highlight EMBED (Elimination of Mosquito Borne Endemic Diseases), a project commissioned by Godrej Consumer Products to support a malaria-free India by 2030 and reduce morbidity & mortality caused by vector-borne diseases such as malaria. In the current lockdown context, the film highlights EMBED’s volunteers, ASHA workers and rural health care provider’s role in reaching out to households of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to spread messaging on COVID-19 prevention and ensure people are prepared for malaria.