BHUBANESWAR: With all attention centred on Covid-19 management, prevention and control of malaria seems to have taken a back seat in Odisha. Malaria cases have risen significantly in some of the high burden districts which had been witnessing a steady decline in cases.
As per the latest statistics, till October this year, the State recorded 37,652 cases as against 33,207 reported till October in 2019 with a rise of 13.39 per cent (pc). The number of deaths also went up to eight instead of five during the same period last year.
The more deadly plasmodium falciparum parasite contributed to over 91.5 pc (34,450) of the cases as against 90 pc last year. What has emerged as a concern is that Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada and Malkangiri among the nine districts where the targeted interventions were adopted, have recorded more cases than that of last year.
The malaria situation had improved considerably in these districts in 2018 and 2019. Kalahandi reported 9,054 cases as compared to 4,630 till October 2019 registering a growth of 95.55 pc. Similarly, Kandhamal, Rayagada and Malkangiri recorded 2,976, 5,161 and 7,530 cases against 2,317, 4,794 and 7,507 respectively last year.
“The cases rose in some of the districts due to disruption in distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and awareness drives in the remote areas due to the prolonged lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak. The activities have been intensified and we hope the situation will improve in the remaining months of this financial year,” said a senior health official.
There is, however, a silver lining as six high burden districts, Khurda, Koraput, Ganjam, Gajapati, Nabarangpur and Sundargarh have witnessed a decline despite the unavoidable circumstances.
The cases are down from 4,138 to 3,354 in Koraput, 2,888 to 1,863 in Ganjam, 1,423 to 1,367 in Nabarangpur, 1,107 to 542 in Gajapati 1,310 to 1,197 in Sundargarh and 120 to 62 in Khurda.
Odisha had recorded 81 per cent decline in malaria cases during 2018 and it was further reduced by 41 per cent in 2019 due to targeted interventions. The malaria cases in the State were 3,47,860 with 24 deaths in 2017. It had come down to 66,311 with death toll at three in 2018.
In 2019, the number further came down to 39,500 and up to April, 2020 the total was 11,302 with one death. The annual parasitic incidence (API) had improved from 10.06 in 2017 to 0.88 in 2019.