27 July 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
State Worried As Deaths Due To The Infection Continue To Rise
The Maharashtra health department has sought technical support and expertise from the Union government to tackle malaria. Eleven people succumbed to the mosquito–borne infection and 22,159 fresh cases were recorded in the state between April and June this year, raising concerns among health experts.
State health minister Suresh Shetty confirmed to TOI that help has been sought from the Centre. “It is true that the state government has sought the Union government’s intervention in the form of technical support and expertise to curb malaria cases,” he said on Wednesday.
S B Nadoni, senior regional director, regional office, Union health and family welfare, said, “Compared to the deaths last year, there has been little success in reducing the mortality rate in Maharashtra. The state health department has sought the Centre’s intervention in curbing the increasing malaria cases and deaths in Greater Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.”
Of the 11 deaths in the state between April and June, eight deaths were reported from Mumbai alone, he said, adding that a total of 29 malaria deaths and 36,760 cases were recorded in the state from January to June this year, he said. “A total of 31 people died due to malaria in the state from January to June last year,” said Nadoni, who is also in charge of the National Vector–Borne Disease Control Programme.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the reporting system of the state health department, Nadoni said, “The department’s reporting method about cases and deaths is very slow. This needs to be made efficient and dynamic for implementation of effective strategy to curb fresh cases.”
Pune district recorded one malaria death in January and four deaths–two each in June and July –this year and two of these were from the Pune Municipal Corporation limits.
“Four people died due to malaria in Pune district in June and July and the same has not yet been reported to us. Besides, the report submitted to us from the state health department covers cases only from January to June. We will enquire about them from the state health department. These deaths will probably be included in the next report,” said Nadoni.
Notably, Pune, as well as Pimpri–Chinchwad, had not reported any malaria deaths last year, that is between April 2009 and March 2010, even as Mumbai accounted for almost 90 per cent of the casualties in the state, that is 206 of the total 232, due to the mosquito–borne infection during the same period.
A report by the state health department has raised concerns as the state witnessed a sharp rise in the deaths due to malaria last year. According to the report, the year 2008–09 saw 166 deaths while 2007–08 reported 176 casualties.
“The components of the national malaria control strategy include the use of long lasting insecticide bed nets, application of indoor residual spraying, early diagnosis of malaria and treatment with effective anti–malarials, management of the environment, forecasting, prevention, early action and control of epidemics, improved monitoring and surveillance systems and evaluation of programme implementation,” said Nadoni.