The number of malaria cases between January and March 2012 dropped by 68% compared to the number of cases in the same period last year, according to data released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on the eve of World Malaria Day on Tuesday.
Between January 2011 and March 2011, 12,602 malaria cases were reported in the city. The number of malaria cases dropped to 4,059 cases during the same period this year.
“Initially we targeted mosquito breeding sites such as public places, construction sites and slums. Our programme is an ongoing one and our aim is to reduce the number of cases by 50% year-on-year basis,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional commissioner, BMC.
Although the number of malaria deaths has not been confirmed, provisional figures have shown only one death in the first four months of 2012 compared to 11 in the same period in 2011. Since 2010, the number of deaths has fallen by 50% every year.
After the outbreak of malaria in 2010, which claimed 145 lives, the BMC started its anti-malaria campaign — Fight the Bite. The campaign included door-to-door surveillance to detect malaria cases and to ensure compliance of the treatment. Targeting construction sites, builders were made accountable for ensuring that there was no breeding site on their construction locations. Regular medical check-up of workers and spraying and fogging at the construction sites has helped bring down the number of cases, Mhaiskar added.
As the monsoon season nears, the BMC is now approaching housing societies to conduct malaria prevention activities. Targeting nearly 1 lakh buildings in the city, the activities will be sponsored by corporate social responsibility initiatives of private companies.
“It is believed that mosquitoes breed in slums and not in housing societies. There were malaria cases in a housing society in Bandra, where everyone suspected the nearby slums to have mosquito breeding. It was actually found on the terrace of the building itself,” said Mhaiskar.
The BMC is also conducting a ward-wise workshop this week in which ward officers have to present an action plan to prevent malaria in their respective wards.