India – Urban malaria situation improves
Margao malaria cases on the decline: UHC
MARGAO: Though health officials are clueless about what the malaria scene would be at the end of June – the month of malaria – statistics on malaria cases in Margao and Fatorda have revealed that intensive drives conducted by the Margao urban health centre (UHC) to combat the disease during the past two years has resulted in a considerable decline in the number of cases of the deadly disease.
According to figures presented to TOI by health officer Geeta Kakodkar on Friday, the total number of cases in 2008 were 1107 as compared to 1291 in 2007, while the total number of cases reported till May this year stand at 132. In 2005, the twin towns recorded a spurt in malaria with 1184 cases while in 2006, only 935 cases were reported.
However, according to Kakodkar, the statistics of 2005 and 2006 were obtained from the cases reported at the UHC alone. “From 2007, when I took charge of the UHC, we commenced the procedure of collecting samples from private labs and Hospicio which helped us to get more or less a fair picture on the prevalence of malaria at Margao and Fatorda,” she explained.
Cases of the deadly Plasmodium Falciparum last year showed a downward trend with 222 cases, while in 2007, cases reported were 291. In 2005, it was 134 and in 2006, 193 cases were reported. This year till May, a total of 18 cases of plasmodium falciparum have been reported.
Cases of plasmodium vivax reported last year were 885 as compared to 1000 cases reported in 2007. In 2005, a total of 1044 cases were reported and in 2006 it was 786. This year cases of plasmodium vivax reported till May stand at 114.
Though statistics show a steady decline in the cases of deadly plasmodium falciparum last year, Kakodkar warned that much needs to be done to bring down the figures further considering that plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous of the serious febrile illness.
Nonetheless, health officials attribute the prevalence of malaria to the unmonitored influx of migrant labourers from malaria prone areas. The city, which has an influx of 600 (according to UHC figures) migrant labourers and over 169 construction sites (21 major), has been literally battling against the disease for the past several years. While Fatorda, KTC area, Mungul, Maddel, Borda and Comba areas face high risk of plasmodium falciparum, some areas of Khareband, Gogol, Housing Board, Malbhat and Aquem are sensitive to the less harmful vivax malaria.
Taking a major step towards combating malaria, the urban health centre, a nodal monitoring and preventing agency, has urged the 26 private laboratories to report cases to the centre. “We started this procedure from July 2007. Since the private sector has 60 to 70% stake in public health, their co-operation can be vital. Our workers collect the data from these labs which help us to take corrective measures,” informed Kakodkar.