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Malaria epidemic under control, situation to develop by five days: Health Minister
Malaria epidemic under control, situation to develop by five days: Health Minister

AGARTALA, June 14 (TIWN): Tripura Health Minister Badal Choudhury on Saturday said that malaria pandemic situation in Dhalai district was largely contained in the past few days. There are no reports of further spread of the disease, Minister said. Total 21 persons were killed by the malaria outbreak which spread across tribal hamlets in Gandacherra, Chailengta, Chowmanu and few other parts of Longtraivalley sub-division since last month.

Speaking to reporters at the civil secretariat this afternoon, Health Minister Choudhury said that additional doctors, para-medical staff, nurses and other equipments were deployed across all villages in Gandacherra and Longtraivalley sub-divisions of Dhalai district to contain the malaria epidemic that ravaged interior villages of the area since last week of May. Healthcare accessories including malaria testing and primary treatment kits were distributed among ASHA workers, Multi Purpose Workers (MPW) working under the Health and Family Welfare Department working in the area, he added.

The latest reports say that 21 persons (unofficially 49 persons from ground reports) were killed by the malaria outbreak which spread across tribal hamlets in Gandacherra, Chailengta, Chowmanu and few other parts of Longtraivalley sub-division since last month, Choudhury said. Fourteen among them are from Gandacherra sub-division, seven are from Longtraivaley sub-division. The minister added that the disease mainly spread in areas where proper road connectivity wasn’t present.

A total of 349 patients are currently undergoing treatment with malaria parasite confirmed through blood tests. 154 of them were admitted in the sub-divisional hospitals at Gandacherra and Chowmanuon Friday itself. Around 37 more patients with ten confirmed malaria patients are still under treatment in five Primary Health Centers (PHC) under Longtraivaley sub-division. All leave permissions from health department officials and personnel were cancelled on emergency basis to tackle the situation. ASHA workers, MPWs were mobilized on war footing to bring hundred percent suspected cases under hospital treatment.

Asked about reason behind the massive scale of escalation of a simple malaria outbreak, the minister said that the grass root level worker base of the Department was totally crippled for last few weeks. “None of them was present in the locality to take care of things”, the minister said.

A visibly dissatisfied Choudhury retorted that any such incident wouldn’t be tolerated. “No ASHA worker, Anganwadi worker of MPWs visited the areas for weeks. We have got reports that many chairmen of the local Village Committees choose to live in the sub-divisional headquarter. Most of the people, who were supposed to make door-to-door visits and inform the nearest health sub-centre about the situation and arrange for institutional treatment if necessary, were absent”, he said.

With Gandacherra sub-divisional hospital now filled upto the brim with malaria patients, the sub-divisional authorities have started a temporary hospital in a new building built for the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). Arrangement to house a hundred patients was made in the new building.

The health minister further said that chairmen of the concerned Village Committees and Gram Panchayats were asked to identify such MPWs and ASHA workers and terminate them from the jobs. “We will recruit new people who would do their jobs properly”, Choudhury said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Family Welfare laid stress on training TSR jawans for such emergency situations. “Two battalions of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) stationed at Dumburnagar and Longtraivalley would be trained to test blood, administer primary healthcare drugs etc”, Deputy Director of Family Welfare Pranab Chatterjee said.

Director of Tripura Health Services Dr. Satya Ranjan Debbarma said that most patients diagnosed to be malaria infected patients were confirmed to have contacted Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite, transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. The infection is one of the most complicated types of malaria, causing multi organ failure and ultimately death, the official said. Nearly eighty percent of malaria cases in all NE states are of the type, he added.

The Health Minister later assured that malaria epidemic condition at Gandacherra was currently stable and under control. “The situation will develop within the next 4-5 days. We are keeping treated patients under observation for a few more days to ensure that no further escalation of the disease takes place. The government is bearing the entire expense of transporation of patients, medicines, ration for the patient and relatives during the entire duration of treatment”, he said.


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