Malaria and other diseases spreading fast in flood-hit area of Sindh

KARACHI: Malaria is likely to badly affect more flood-victim people in the months ahead owing to the accumulated rain water, breeding season, shortage of drugs, no fumigation campaign, and hospitals lack staff to tackle such case in the parts of lower Sindh, health officials said.

“The breeding season of mosquitoes would continue for four months, July-September, which is likely to cause more deaths among the people, owing to lack of anti-mosquito spray and non-availability of staff,” said the official.

After the 18th amendment in the constitution, the provincial government became fully responsible to run all the health relevant programs. The provincial health department has a separate directorate of the Malaria Control Programme (MCP)

Huge resources are spent through the MCP to combat the disease but to no avail. MCP mobile teams prepare thousands of block slides for examining the disease-affected patients to provide them radical treatment.

Sources term this an exercise in futility as these slides are seldom examined in Health department laboratories and no feedback is ever provided to workers of communicable disease control (CDC) wing to enable them to take care of the malaria positive cases.

Local CDC branch officials maintained they had not been provided with specific malaria medicines and logistics for a long time which rendered their services ineffective.

Drugs shortage in the government health facilities at district, tehsil and union council level are facing acute shortage of medicines and consumables due to a conflict between the bureaucracy and the local influential politicians.

Talking to (www.sindhclimate), Dr. Naveed Bhutto, Program Officer of international NGOs, based in Karachi, said that there are 32 species of mosquitoes of which only two, i.e, Anophelese and Stephesai (both females), acted as vectors, and transmitted the disease from one person to another.

“The outbreak of malaria takes place every year after rainfall due to which thousands of people get affected while many people also die of this disease,” he added.

He further said the symptoms of typhoid, malaria and dengue fever resemble one another, which is why complications take place during treatment if the disease not properly diagnosed. He said to avoid these complications the treatment must be given after a proper diagnosis.

Dr. Alam, also confirmed that about huge number of patients were admitted to the hospital. who were in serious condition were admitted to the hospital for intravenous administration of dextrose drips, while minor cases were discharged after prescribing oral dehydration and other medicines in OPD, he said.

The most affected districts such as; Johi-Dadu, Khairpur (KNS), Sukkur, Hyderabad, Badin, Thatta, Jamshoro, Tando Muhammad Khan and Sujwal have been at high-risk on the basis of Annual Parasite Incidence (API)’s report. Due to recent rain shower, the water is accumulated in several villages of these districts.

Drugs have been supplied to the BHUs, RHCs, dispensaries and civil hospitals, and arrangements have been made to diagnose patients for malaria.

The people in the these districts would also be provided with impregnated bed net that are treated with five per cent deltamethrine insecticides, on subsidised rates to protect them against mosquito bites.

Confirming that the rise in malaria cases, Dr. Akbar Ali, said dozens of patients have been reported at his clinic, he said a number of ponds developed in various parts of the district in the wake of stagnant rainwater had become mosquito breeding grounds.

He blamed the district governments, that there is no fund available to fumigate the stagnant water pools and heaps of garbage, to stop the breeding of mosquitoes. The official, however, say that the people should sprinkle kerosene oil on the heaps of garbage and pool of stagnant water.