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Tripura to become malaria-free by 2027, house-to-house surveillance testing begins

First Published: 19th May, 2024 19:44 IST

Tripura Health Secretary Kiren Gitte emphasized the importance of maintaining dry zones around houses to prevent mosquito breeding and the introduction of larvivorous fish in drains which will eat the

Tripura, which has historically reported several malaria deaths, has set an ambitious target to become malaria-free by 2027, according to a senior official from the state’s Health and Family Welfare Department.

During the launch of a mass malaria testing program and the distribution of free medicated mosquito nets at Bharat Chowdhury Para in Hezamara block in West Tripura district, speaking to reporters state’s Health Secretary Kiren Gitte said, “In last few years malaria cases are coming down in Tripura, we had seen large number of deaths in 2014, and after that there is a gradual decline. In last 2-3 years, the number of deaths have remained in single digit. Now we have taken the target of no new case by 2027. So we have a 3 years program. A team of Government of India had come to our state and they had helped us to form a strategy for that.”

He detailed the strategy, which includes house-to-house surveillance by ASHA workers. If a positive case is found, medicine kits are provided at health sub-centers by community health officers for a 14-day treatment course.

“So as a part of that strategy, we are now doing a house-to-house surveillance testing by our ASHA workers and then if anybody is found positive, then medicine kit given at the sub-center to the Community Health Officer (CHO), we give a 14-days treatment. And also we are now distributing 9.5 lakh mosquito nets and also giving awareness to use it regularly. Then we have to make sure that there is a dry zone surrounding the houses so that mosquitoes cannot breed,” Gitte said.

Gitte emphasized the importance of maintaining dry zones around houses to prevent mosquito breeding and the introduction of larvivorous fish in drains which will eat the mosquito larva.

Elaborating on the matter, the Tripura Health Secretary said, “We have also started putting larvivorous fish in the drains so that there is no breeding of the mosquitoes. In Tripura there are about 126 villages, about 700 paras, where this endemic malaria is there. We have 3.5 lakh population in those areas, that is our target population for testing.

Last year the number of cases were 22,000, maximum cases were in Dhalai district, followed by North and South Tripura. With regular testing 3 times and treatment, we hope that this number will come down. We have given a target to all the DMs, CMOs to ensure that there is no malaria death in the state. Last few years it has been in the single digit, but we would like to make it zero. With the help of our medical officers and paramedical staff who are trained in this, I hope that if we take timely action than outbreak of malaria will not be there and everything will be under control.”

He also noted that those involved in jhum cultivation and rubber production are particularly vulnerable to malaria. The government is focusing on creating awareness and providing preventive medicines among these high-risk groups.

The initiative has been well-received by villagers, who appreciate the free mosquito nets, testing facilities, and medication provided at their doorsteps, which would otherwise be financially inaccessible for many.
Meantime ground-level health workers, specially trained in malaria testing, medication, and awareness, are working enthusiastically towards achieving the target of a malaria-free Tripura within the next three years.

Although it is a challenging task, it will be considered a remarkable achievement in saving the lives of the underprivileged, especially those living in the remote areas of the state.

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