The Tura Model, initiated by Meghalaya Principal Health Secretary Sampath Kumar in 2007, has played a big role in reducing malaria cases in the state, said officials.
The Centre for the Study of Complex Malaria in India (CSCMI), IIPH-Shillong (IIPH-S) hosted a stakeholder engagement meeting to share and discuss the progress of work related to malaria research in Meghalaya at Pasteur Research Institute, Lawmali in Shillong on Monday.
“The objective of this stakeholder meeting was to share and discuss the progress of work conducted by the Centre in the state of Meghalaya,” said a press statement.
While speaking at the event, Dr Bibha R. Marak, Deputy Director-cum-State Programme Officer of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Meghalaya, said, “Malaria morbidity in the state has declined by 96% and malaria mortality by 94%, keeping 2015 data as the baseline.”
She also mentioned the Tura Model initiative initiated by the current Principal Health Secretary, Sampath Kumar in 2007, and how it played a big role in this significant decline in malaria cases.
An analysis of the State Epidemiological Situation from 1997 to 2019 (Malaria in Meghalaya: Entomological Perspective, 2020) reveals that the state reported the highest deaths caused due to malaria in 2007 with 237 deaths.
Out of this, 117 deaths alone were reported from the West Garo Hills district.
This sudden spike in the number of deaths demanded immediate intervention as it was noted that despite technical assistance from the Centre to contain malaria, the number of deaths remained significantly high, especially in the Garo Hills region.
It was in this year that the then Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills district, Sampath Kumar along with the team of health professionals devised and implemented an innovative strategy that not only led to a drastic reduction in malaria mortality but set precedence for building state capability to tackle critical issues.
This eventually came to be known as the ‘Tura Model’.
“In fact, the Meghalaya State Health Policy 2021 derives its key principles from the Tura Model success story namely – understanding the problem, mapping the processes, empowering the health care systems at the grassroots level, addressing the issue of public health by focusing not only on the curative aspects but more so, on the preventive as well as enabling aspects,” the statement said.
“One of the most important examples set by the Tura Model was the coming together of doctors from the public & private sector as well as missionary organizations and NGOs, working with a sense of urgency on the part of district administration and most importantly, building the capacity of the community through the ASHA workers at the field level to ensure that the last mile of the population is reached,” it added.
In her introductory remarks at the stakeholder meeting, Prof. Sandra Albert, Director, IIPH-S & CSCMI, gave an overview of SCSMI.
She informed that the Centre for the Study of Complex Malaria in India (CSCMI) is one of the 11 international centers for excellence in malaria research, i.e., the ICEMR initiative funded by NIH, USA.