No malaria deaths in State in last 3 yrs

No malaria deaths in State in last 3 yrs

With sustained efforts from the Department of Health and Family Welfare and other health promoters, Karnataka has recorded zero deaths due to malaria in the past three years.

Dr Jagdish, research officer, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said the number of deaths in the year 2006 was 26, and in 2007, it was 18. Statistics also show that the number has been constantly decreasing ever since. The Dakshina Kannada district contributes about 40 per cent and Udupi 15 per cent of the total malaria cases in the State, Jagdish said.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), over 50,000 people in the country and more than a crore across the world die of mosquito-borne diseases each year.

In a press release, D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, stated that malaria morbidity and mortality were a matter of major public health concern as they hugely affected the social and economic conditions of the people and lead to poverty.

As a part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), it has planned to launch an awareness campaign with an aim to spread information about ma  laria, its causes, prevention and treatment on the eve of World Malaria Day commemorated every year on April 25.

Stating that groundwater in over 200 districts in India was not fit for drinking due to concentration of fluoride, iron, salinity and arsenic, which affect about two lakh habitatio­ns with 85 per cent of population dependent on gro­u­­nd­water, Rawat said, “About 75 per cent of India’s water supply was seriously polluted with sewage and industrial effluents, promoting water-borne diseases which affect over 70 million working days.”

With the year’s theme being ‘Invest in the future: Defeat malaria,’ various organisations have also come forward to voice the need for financial support for the cause. The World Health Organisation has also urged various governments, development partners and the corporate sector to invest more to sustain these gains and eliminate malaria.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said, “We must continue surveillance for malaria. Funding needs to be increased for diagnostics, drugs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and research and response to drug and insecticide resistance. We need to empower communities to protect themselves.” Also, with the sustained efforts of various State governments, India is expected to decrease malaria incidences by 50 to 75 by 2015, according to the WHO.

“Another danger lies in the fact that the Anopheles mosquitoes, which carry malaria parasites, are increasingly becoming resistant to insecticides. There is a need to contain the emergence and spread of resistance of Anop­he­les mosquitoes to insecticides. Moreover, reintroduction of transmission in areas free of malaria is always a threat if surveillance and rapid response are not sustained,” a WHO note said.

They also emphasised on the need for investments to develop new tools to conduct operational research to address bottlenecks in malaria control programmes and to scale up and ensure rational use of the existing interventions.

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