To control the spread of malaria, Sion Hospital has launched a yearlong pilot project to cut the duration between diagnosis of the disease and initiation of treatment.
The project has been initiated in collaboration with the Centre for Study of Social Change (CSSC), a city-based NGO. “The crux of the programme is to reduce the time between the onset of fever, diagnosis of malaria and beginning the treatment. This process will reduce the spread of the infection through mosquito bites ,” said Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, head of department, preventive and social medicine department (PSM), Sion Hospital.
The project began on July 16 and will cover 5,000 people in the Bharat Nagar slum, Bandra. According to the Satellite Disease Surveillance Unit, run under Integrated Disease Surveillance Project of the BMC, the current average time for diagnosis of malaria is six days in the area that Sion Hospital primarily caters to, which is Dharavi and the easter suburbs, said Dr Chaturvedi. Through the project, they want to reduce this to one day.
Once a person is infected with the malarial parasite, he becomes a carrier. When more mosquitoes bite an infected person, they transmit the disease to healthy persons. Thus prolonging the duration of this parasitic infection leads to more mosquitoes getting infected and increase in transmission, said doctors.
To cut the duration, volunteers from CSSC will first identify the patients with fever. The blood smears of these patients will be examined the very same day in Sion Hospital. If found positive for malaria, the patients will be given the required treatment as per malaria control guidelines as soon as possible. “We intend to do all this within 24 hours. We have 17 centers across Bandra, Santacruz and Khar. After analysing the results over the next year, we may extend it in all the centers,” said Dr Sanjay Ojha, project manager from CSSC. The doctors from the PSM department of the hospital are in the process of imparting training to the NGO volunteers to identify fever cases and take blood smears.
Dr Chaturvedi pointed out that Sion Hospital, gets many patients who are treated at private clinics. “Many of the fever cases treated by private practitioners come in serious condition to the hospital. This initiative will prevent the patient going in the advanced stage of malaria and also prevent relapses.”