NE Health officials to discuss Malaria in Guwahati

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Shillong, Apr 2: In the wake of malaria death in Meghalaya, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has summoned a review meeting of Directors of State Health Services and district health societies of NE States on April 9 in Guwahati, ministry officials said today.

At least 31 people have died of malaria in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills since March alone, prompting the health department to rush Rapid Response Teams to affected areas.

Most of the Malaria deaths were reported from Wakchikong, Silchang, Gandual, Chambildram, Nainggre and Mangsang villages in East Garo Hills.

Of the 31 deaths, he said eight were confirmed cases of Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria; other deaths were due to suspected cases of cerebral Malaria, Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr KH Lakiang said.

The DHS had rushed to the Malaria affected areas for first hand information and to take stock of the Health situation in Garo Hills.

He claimed that there was no dearth of medicine and the department is being geared up for malaria prevention programmes throughout the State.

Earlier, the Meghalaya government had procured 1.5 lakh insecticide-treated bed nets for distribution in the malaria-prone areas, but to postpone it because of the Assembly election.

Last week, Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee had convened a meeting with Health department officials to contain the mosquito-borne disease in the state.

Infact, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry had covered Malaria-prone areas in Garo Hills under Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping to provide better transportation and communication facilities.

Northeastern States have been identified as endemic region for malaria, which contribute to 16 per cent of malarial deaths in the country, most of which is caused by drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum.

The Union government had launched in 2005 an Intensified Malaria Control Project (IMCP), supported by a Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in specially targeted States, including the seven Northeastern States, which recorded highest incidences of Plasmodium falciparum infection.

Sikkim, being a high altitude State, is free from Malaria. Last year, over 230 persons died of the diseases in the state. The figure was an increase from the previous year's death rate by over 60 per cent. In fact, in 2005 there were just 41 Malaria deaths.


UNI

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