At least 35 people died of malaria in 1983 in Nadiad taluka of Gujarat's Kheda district. The Malaria Research Centre, with V P Sharma as director, began its work on bioenvironmental control here. This was a response to the failure of the National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP), which was all about residual insecticide sprays and chemotherapy to prevent the resurgence of malaria. Three decades of success with this approach was followed by three kinds of resistance.
l Parasites were becoming resistant to drugs.
l Mosquitoes were developing resistance against chemical insecticides.
l The people of Nadiad were becoming resistant to the idea of spraying toxic insecticides.
MRC's approach was people-centred, encouraging them to fight the disease. It involved two things.
l Biological management: Releasing larvae-eating fish in open waterbodies