State gets a move on in malaria battle | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State gets a move on in malaria battle

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday said that more than 40 Mumbaiites have succumbed to malaria this year and that 34,712 were diagnosed with the disease.

mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2010 01:17 IST
HT Correspondent

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday said that more than 40 Mumbaiites have succumbed to malaria this year and that 34,712 were diagnosed with the disease.

Additional Commissioner Ashish Kumar Singh said: “In all, 10,00,048 people were hospitalised with fever. Blood samples of 5,36,210 patients were checked. About 90 per cent of the patients were slum-dwellers, 3 per cent were construction workers, 4 per cent hailed from the middle-class and 1.5 per cent from upper-class families. Other groups comprised 1.5 per cent.”

The BMC will soon start distributing free medicines through two lakh private practitioners. Health Minister Suresh Shetty said the decision was taken at a meeting with a two-member technical team from the Centre.

Dr Ashwani Kumar, of the National Institute of Malaria Research, and Dr Tanzing, of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme Cell, who comprise the committee, asked the BMC to issue an advisory asking all residents to use mosquito nets. This, they said, would help reduce chances of contracting malaria by 30 to 40 per cent. Chemically treated nets would reduce the chances of contracting the disease by 70 per cent. Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said the BMC would issue the advisory soon. The experts suggested that the nets be used at construction sites, where malaria prevalence is high. Shetty said the government might ask builders to provide the nets to labourers.

Shetty has asked Central Government hospitals to open malaria wards and OPDs.

The committee visited some high-risk zones to review preventive measures, and will visit more areas on Friday. It echoed the BMC view that malaria was on the rise due to the large number of construction sites in these areas. There are over 2,700 construction sites across Mumbai, about 60 per cent of which are in the seven wards declared high-risk zones.

The committee will help the state draw up short-term and long-term plans to tackle malaria. It suggested that the BMC disburse more of the Artemisinin-based combination therapy instead of chloroquine, to which malaria is now proving resistant.

The Opposition used the outbreak to attack the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in the BMC. While the Congress said the Sena-BJP had failed in controlling the disease, the alliance accused the Congress of playing politics over malaria.