Battling the malaria iceberg with chloroquine in India

Malar J. 2007 Aug 7;6:105. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-6-105.


The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) of the Ministry of Health, Government of India is reporting about 2 million parasite positive cases each year, although case incidence is 30-fold or more under-estimated. Forty five to fifty percent of Plasmodium infections are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the killer parasite. Anti-malaria drug policy (2007) of the NVBDC recommends chloroquine (CQ) as the first line of drug for the treatment of all malarias. In a Primary Health Centre (PHC) reporting 10% or more cases of CQ resistance in P. falciparum, ACT blister pack is recommended and, so far, the policy has been adopted in 261 PHCs of 71 districts. The NVBDCP still depends on CQ to combat malaria and, as a result, P. falciparum has taken deep roots in malaria-endemic regions, causing unacceptable levels of morbidity and mortality. This policy was a subject of criticism in recent Nature and Lancet articles questioning the World Bank's decision to supply CQ to the NVBDCP. Continuation of an outdated drug in the treatment of P. falciparum is counterproductive in fighting drug resistant malaria and in the containment of P. falciparum. Switchover to Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of all P. falciparum cases, ban on artemisinin monotherapy and effective vector control (treated nets/efficient insecticide spraying) would be a rational approach to malaria control in India.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Artesunate
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Malaria / diagnosis
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Malaria / economics
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Pyrimethamine / therapeutic use
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sulfadoxine / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Drug Combinations
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • fanasil, pyrimethamine drug combination
  • Artesunate
  • Sulfadoxine
  • Chloroquine
  • Pyrimethamine