02 June 2011
By Umesh Isalkar
28,000 Patients Reported Till April This Year
"Climactic conditions with temperature up to 30 degrees Celsius and ahumidity level above 70% is favourable for mosquito–breeding. Such conditions prevailed on most days in the last four months in Mumbai. That is one of the reasons why there was a higher number of malaria cases during the pre–monsoon period," Ashok Bhosale, entomological consultant to the state government on malaria told TOI on Monday.
V D Khanande, joint director (malaria) of the state health services, agrees. "Most cases reported during the pre–monsoon period in Mumbai are from the slum areas. The perceptible rise in malaria cases between January and April this year, can also be attributed to the huge construction activities going on in Mumbai and the rest of the state. Besides, consolidated surveillance is also resulting in enhanced detection of malaria cases," he says. The Union government team recently inspected the pre–monsoon preparation in Mumbai, he added.
In 2010–11, 1,38,605 positive cases were recorded in the state, a higher figure than the 85,435 cases recorded in the previous year. In 2007, 67,850 cases were registered and 67,333 cases were registered in 2008. To control the growing mosquito menace, the state health department had to seek technical support and expertise from the Union government.
The components of the national malaria control strategy include the use of long–lasting insecticides, bed nets, indoor residual sprays, early diagnosis and treatment of cases, management of the environment, forecasting, prevention and control of epidemics.
"The number of malaria, dengue and chikungunya cases is just the tip of the iceberg. A majority of the cases remain unreported," say health activists attached to various NGOs.