RAJPUR: In a Red zone of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh, a different battle is being fought to tackle the vector-borne disease ‘Malaria’, which so far hasn’t received much attention. Bastar has an Annual Parasite Incidence (API) (malaria) of over 10 — rated among the highest in the country.
API-10 is equivalent to 10 confirmed cases per thousand population and Bastar is among the very few geographical locations endemic to malaria parasites—Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum.
Even today, 65 per cent of malaria cases are being reported from Bastar. Hence, the state has now meticulously embarked upon a plan to eliminate Malaria from Bastar through door-to-door ‘Mass Active Screening and Treatment’ process, which will continue till February 14 under the ‘Malaria-Free Bastar’ campaign.’ Interestingly around 88 per cent are women engaged in the campaign.
As many as 1720 health survey teams are examining the blood of over 14 lakh people through Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT). The patients are given free medical treatment along with medicines and a follow-up. Those found in serious conditions are shifted to health centres.
“Malaria remains a serious public health concern in Bastar. Besides the Maoist threat, the inhospitable terrain and lack of attention to health issues were hindrances to counter Malaria. We have now started an extensive campaign to combat malaria in the area,” said Health minister T S Singhdeo.Every tribal hamlet, ashrams, schools, residential Pota cabins, jails and even camps of para-military forces are being scanned.