Chennai, September 9, 2016: WHO has recognized that Sri Lanka is now Malaria-free. This significant achievement was due to a combination of education, social mobilization and regulation. There are lessons from the Sri Lankan achievement which can help the residents of Chennai. This reminds me of the eradication of filarial mosquitoes in Kumbakonam by my late father (Dr M K Sambasivan). Kumbakonam was well known for filariasis and elephantiasis. By teaching the residents of every street on mosquito breeding grounds and persuading them to close them, my father helped to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. The schools in every street were involved. Thus at very little cost the filarial mosquitoes were eradicated within a year. The Sri Lankan experience shows that extremely difficult tasks can be accomplished through education, community cooperation, appropriate technology and monitoring. The role of education and awareness generation will be evident from the fact that many citizens of Chennai are not aware that the malarial mosquito breeds only in good water like open wells and overhead water tanks.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.