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Malaria cases on sharp rise in Sindh after floods

April 24, 2011

A girl suffering from fever in flood-hit area in Pakistan. – AFP Photo

KARACHI: After recent floods the number of malaria cases rose sharply in Sindh, as accumulated flood water provided suitable environment to mosquitoes for breeding.

Despite many efforts of the government malaria is yet to be eliminated from the country and each year it claims hundreds of lives, say experts. Director Malaria Control Program Sindh, Dr. Naheed Jamali said that earler this cases of malaria had been on decline but the heavy floods of last year sent the number of malaria cases in Sindh soaring. -- PPI

She said during the year 2009 more than 25,000 malaria cases had been reported in Sindh whereas in the year 2010 due to flood more than 57,000 cases of malaria were reported in Sindh province.

She said that there are more than 400 types of mosquitoes and it needs hectic efforts to eliminate them. She said under the malaria control program in Sindh including Karachi, 48 centers were working including the centers in teaching hospitals and health centers, where malaria patients are treated free of cost.

She pointed out that four districts of Sindh -Thatta, Khairpur, Dadu and Tharparker lead in malaria cases, while the number of reported cases is also on rise in districts of Kashmore, Ghotki and Larkana due to standing floodwater.

Dr Jamali said that last year 0.2mn mosquito nets were distributed that would remain in working condition for at least five years. To a question, she said that there was no shortage of funds, as due to the efforts of provincial health minister and secretary the program had been running successfully. She, however, admitted that sometimes disbursement of salary get delayed, consequently employees have to face trouble.

Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Dr. Farhan Essa said that World Malaria Day is being celebrated all over the world including Pakistan on April 25 with the purpose to create awareness about this disease among the masses.

“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.

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. He said that there are four kinds of malaria which takes place when a female mosquito bites before laying eggs.

Dr. Farhan Essa asserted that people should ensure before transfusing the blood that is it clean form malaria; otherwise, the recipient patient can develop malaria.

Dr Shaista at National Institute of Child Health (NICH) said that every year thousands of children get affected by malaria whereas hundreds of children die of malaria. She said the death cases are not often reported in media. She said that daily dozens of children suffering from malaria are brought to National Institute of Child Health in OPD as well as emergency department, who after diagnosis are treated free of cost.

Malaria is a blood infectious diseases in which patients suffer from fever, anemia and possibly jaundice, added she.

Dr Shaista said that there is certain a kind of malaria, cerebral malaria, that affects children’s brain in which after fits child may go unconscious. Parents should immunize their children against diseases like polio, black cough, measles, hepatitis B, chicken pox, flu, meningitis, tuberculosis and other diseases so that they could be protected, she urged.

Pakistan Medical Association office-bearer and senior doctor Qaisar Sajjad said that malaria is a dangerous disease .People die of malaria, but still the government is not taking steps for complete eradication of mosquitoes.