Tripura becomes Malaria drug resist

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Agartala, Mar 21: All four districts of Tripura have become malaria drug resistant while the state go vernment has asked the Centre to provide help in combating vulnerability to the deadly disease.

Replying to a calling attention in the State Assembly here today, state Health and Family Welfare Minister Tapan Chakraborty revealed that three districts of the state, except West Tripura, were found more vulnerable to malaria.

''The death toll in malaria has increased from 20 in 2005 to 44 in 2007 despite effective measures taken by the state government prompting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to change the treatment pattern'', Mr Chakraborty said adding that a total of 18,008 cases were diagnosed with the deadly disease in 2005 while the number of affected people has increased to 23,375 in 2007.

He, however, stated that the Ministry instructed the state government to use second-generation medicine instead of traditional medicines to prevent malaria deaths and the departments have already stored adequate medicines in each sub-division to ensure speedy and effective treatment.

Moreover the state government has also taken all possible measures like spraying of DDT, use of instant diagnostic kits in high malaria prone areas. Besides, the Central government has sanctioned 1,15,000 medicated nets to prevent people from mosquito biting and more such nets are likely to be brought in the state, Mr Chakraborty pointed out.

Apart from that the state government has received six fogging machines to prevent mosquito-biting and these would be used in the Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) area. Later, fogging machines would be used in sub-divisional towns too, he assured.

Earlier, alarmed at the increasing incidences of deaths due to malariain in Tripura National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDC) had conducted a comprehensive study in malaria-prone-areas on effectiveness of conventional medicines for malaria treatment. The expert team assessed the effectiveness of first generation malaria drugs and accordingly the state government, had initiated measures to bring the situation under control, Mr Chakraborty hoped.

Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) categorised the state as Chloroquine (malaria drug) resistant three years back and Salpha Pyramethamine Combination, second-generation anti-malaria drugs had been prescribed for the patients.

The Plasmodium Falciparum (PF) component present in malaria affected patients in the state and Chloroquine had become inactive for long-sufferers. Newchemoprophylaxis drugs had been suggested as an immediate measure, said the health officials here.

They have also underlined that the problem became critical, following the recent outbreak of malaria involving outsiders and the security personnel deployed in the state.Border Security Force are the worst victim of malaria and record shows, altogether 19 jawans died of malaria only last year and BSF authority made malaria Free Certificate mandatory for its Tripura personnel who wanted the station leave permission.

BSF Medical Officers said most of their people have already become carriers of Plasmodium Falciparum. When they shift from Tripura, the possibility of outbreak of the disease emerges high in different environment. About 24 outstation BSF personnel died of malaria in their hometowns in the past three years, as they were carriers of the virus.

Altogether 150 Border Out-Posts of approximately 50,000 people residing along 856 KMs of the international border in the state have been identified as malaria-sensitive. It was expected that the Intensified Malaria Action Plan undertaken by BSF in adherence to the malaria awareness campaign would show new dimensions to combat its outbreak in Tripura.

State health department's study established that Tripura climate was conducive for malarial vectors like Anopheles minimus, anopheles fluviatilis and anopheles virus, and a predominant and malaria malignant parasite, Plasmodium Falciparum.

According to the health experts, resistance of the people in the state has grown but outsiders were affected severely and they became malaria carriers, who spread the disease even to other parts of the country.

UNI

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