The Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday cracked the whip on officials after five malaria deaths were reported in 10 days from an epidemic-prone district, where 97 people had died of malaria in 2011.
All the five deaths have been reported from Sidhi district where 60 tribals have tested positive. According to health officials, the condition is worse in Jhulua Tola village, about 20 km from Sidhi headquarters.
In November 2011, more than 97 people had died of malaria in the district, which led to removal of the then chief medical and health officer and the collector as the issue had triggered a massive political outburst from the Left and the Congress parties.
The officials put under suspension on Thursday for negligence and wrong reporting in Sidhi district include malaria officer Akhilesh Dubey and IDSP nodal officer JP Arya.
Sidhi collector Vishesh Gadhpale admitted that there had been a flaw in reporting deaths on the officials’ part. He has served a notice on chief medical and health officer (CMHO) KK Shukla, asking him to report the exact details immediately. Shukla, however, didn’t respond to HT calls.
District collector said only two deaths had been from malaria in the region. A team is camping in the village and all the residents are out of danger. "We are examining them and keeping a close eye on the area. Sixty people have been tested positive and treatment is going on," he said.
A health official, on condition of anonymity, admitted that the department was neither reporting the exact number of cases to the district administration not carrying out regular anti-malaria fogging in the village. Even investigation were not being carried out and there were no arrangements for proper treatment despite 2011 tragedy, he alleged.
Veer Bhadur Singh, a villager of Jhola Tola, said that malarial outbreak had been there since October but the officials made no preventive steps to check its spread.
Reasons behind the deaths
1. Cases not reported properly
2. Inappropriate treatment and apathy of the department concerned
3. Lack of hygiene and sanitation in tribal areas
4. Cases not notified and followed seriously
5. Quacks were active in the region owing to the unavailability of the doctors.
1. Ramesh Kol (10), resident of Pokahra in Bharuhi village panchayat (died on 27 October)
2. Mahobi Kol (50), resident of Bharuhi village panchayat (died on 29 October)
3. Rajnish Kol (13), resident of Jholu Tota (Monday)
4. Reena (16), resident of Jholu Tola village (died on Wednesday)
5. Kunnan Gond, died on Tuesday at district hospital due to malaria.