Records show 13% dip in malaria cases in DK

Records show 13% dip in malaria cases in DK

Representative image.

Malaria cases in Dakshina Kannada have dipped this year, officials of the district Health Department have declared.

Dr Arun Kumar, district vector-borne disease control officer, told DH that 3,331 malaria cases were registered until October 2018, while in the corresponding period in 2017, 3,853 cases had been registered outside the Mangaluru City Corporation limits. “There has been a 13% fall in malaria cases,” he stated.

Dr Manjaiah Shetty, health officer in the Corporation, too said that malaria cases had dipped in the Corporation limits.

Up to October-end 2017, 5,240 malaria cases were registered, while the overall figures for the year showed up to 8,075 cases in MCC limits.

‘Under-reported’

Activists and experts, on the other hand, argue that the health officials have been under-reporting the malaria statistics in order to highlight the progress of the malaria control activities in the district.

“All malaria cases from the city and across the district have been under-reported to the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP),” insists Dr Shrinivasa Kakkilaya, a former member of the City Corporation Malaria Cell.

Dr Kakkilaya is an internal medicine specialist with special interests in metabolic medicine, infectious diseases and community health.

He said, “Official figures on malaria cases in the city and in the district are misleading in themselves. In 2017, the malaria cases reported in the district were 4,741 – 4,144 cases in urban areas and 597 in the rural areas. The Corporation, however, had recorded malaria cases within its administrative limits alone.”

This, he said, was a case of under-reporting.

Cases not reported

Former Mayor Harinath, who has had a first-hand experience of such under-reporting, says most of the malaria cases handled by private practitioners are not reported to the Health Department.

Dr Arun Kumar admitted that, while compiling the statistics, malaria smears that tested positive through Qbc test, which is the diagnostic test for malaria, were not included.

“The malaria cases confirmed by the rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) were taken into account, as under the norms of the National Vector-borne Disease Control Programme,” Dr Arun Kumar clarified.

‘Malaria deaths under-reported’

Dr Shrinivasa Kakkilaya told DH said that the malaria death cases were also under-reported.

“Between 2007 and 2016, there were 89 malaria-related deaths in the District Wenlock Hospital alone, but, only 12 were reported. In some instances, deaths were registered due to malaria only after the intervention of activists. In 2014, two children from Shishila had died of malaria. But the department had ignored these deaths. The deaths were registered when the activists had gone public regarding the malaria deaths," Dr Kakkilaya said.

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