A total of 197 malaria cases were reported from Tibetan settlements across India in 2014, a minister in the Tibetan government-in-exile said here on Saturday.
"Tackling malaria in the high endemic Tibetan settlements has been a major challenge over the years. Despite widespread health education on prevention and preventative measures, every year we still have a large number of cases reported in our settlements," health minister Tsering Wangchuk said on the occasion of World Malaria Day.
World Malaria Day is observed annually on April 25.
In a statement, Wangchuk said in 2014, malaria was reported in seven Tibetan settlements.
While 170 cases were from Phuntsokling in Orissa, the rest were reported from Mainpat in Chhattisgarh, Choepheling and Tezu Dargeyling in Arunachal Pradesh, Doeguling and Bylakupee in Karnataka and Samyeling in Delhi.
In 2013, there were 214 reported malaria cases from the Tibetan settlement health centres with 119 cases alone from Odisha.
He said a needs assessment survey was conducted in 2013 by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University of the US in Tibetan settlements in India.
It was found that people had good knowledge of preventative measures and on treatment options; however, people lacked the means through which they could get hold of tools for preventing themselves against malaria.
The CTA’s department of health launched its malaria control project focusing mainly in Odisha, followed by Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh from 2012 to 2014.
The project, funded by the Norwegian Church Aid, was aimed at reducing the effects of malaria.
Widespread awareness campaigns were held so that people can be aware and be safe against malaria.
"This shows that we need to invest more in the future so that we can defeat malaria," the health minister said.
Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, with over 100,000 of them in India.
Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.
The Tibetan administration in exile is based in this north Indian hill town.