Tripura witnesses sharp decline in malaria cases

AGARTALA, July 31 – Tripura, one of the high endemic malaria zones in the country, has witnessed a sharp decline in the incidence of the ‘fatal’ disease.

Incidence of malaria in the State has been reduced by 23 per cent when compared to 2009 while the dead toll stood at only four during 2011, according to figures available with Family Welfare and Preventive Medicine department.

Altogether, 1.43 lakh blood samples were tested during 2010, out of which 10,377 tested positive, said Dr RK Dhar, Director, Family Welfare and Preventive Medicine here on Sunday.

This year, as many as 1.26 lakh blood samples were collected while only 7,948 cases tested positive. In Tripura, 90 per cent of the cases are Plasmodium Falsiparum which is more fatal than Plasmodium vivax (10 per cent).

The entire Dhalai district and Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura district have been identified as high endemic zone for malaria. Rupaicheeri, Santir Bazar of South Tripura district and parts of Bishalgarh subdivision of West Tripura district have also been rated as potential pockets for malaria.

“We are focusing on preventive steps as well curative measures to reduce the outbreak of malaria”, said Dr Dhar. As part of the preventive steps, around three lakh medicated mosquito nets have been distributed among the villagers living in malaria prone zones last year. This year, the State Government had already sought 1.5 lakh medicated nets from the Centre under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), one of the flagship programmes of Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

According to him, adoption of Village Health and Nutrition Day proved handy for awareness generation even in rural areas. As per the guideline, the Day is being organised twice in a month for each Gaon Panchayat and Village Committee (tribal area). “This enables the doctors, health staff, officials of Social Welfare and Drinking Water & Sanitation departments to closely monitor the health condition of villagers”, he said.

Besides, over 7,000 ASHA workers are also engaged in different areas to take care of pregnant mothers, mother and child living in far flung areas. It may be noted that entire Tripura had already been declared as malaria drug resistant State by the Ministry. “There is no dearth of drugs and equipments to conduct Rapid Diagnosis Test even in far flung areas”, he said.

“The situation will improve further when the State Government plan to set up at least one health institution at each Gram Panchayat and Village Committee by 2012 is implemented”, he added.