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Anti-malaria project remains a non-starter

money matters PMC bought 154 machines,has no funds to fill posts

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Published: July 27, 2012 3:52 am

money matters PMC bought 154 machines,has no funds to fill posts

The state’s urban malaria scheme has come a cropper with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) unable to fill 157 vacant posts owing to shortage of funds.

The scheme has been stalled in Mumbai since 2006 and the PMC,too,has not received its share of funds for the last eight years,said Dr S T Pardeshi,acting chief medical officer of PMC. The civic body purchased 154 machines for spraying insecticides but the posts of 43 supervisors and 114 field workers remain vacant,he added.

The scheme — under the national malaria eradication programme — was sanctioned for 181 cities but is operational only in 131 towns in the country. In Maharashtra,it was introduced at 14 cities and towns including Mumbai,Pune,Nashik,Jalgaon and Ahmednagar. Anti-malaria measures entail using environment-friendly methods,preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs and spraying larvicides on mosquito breeding sites.

Dr V M Khanande,joint director of health said due to haphazard and unplanned expansion of cities and towns,malaria posed a problem in urban areas. He admitted that there was a shortage of funds and the focus was on ‘poor’ towns that could not afford their own budget to control malaria. Several municipal corporations have been told to appoint staff and avail of the funds later,he added.

However,Pardeshi said this move has proved to be detrimental as the state now owes PMC nearly Rs 12 crore over the last eight years. “We have been unable to recover the money spent under the programme and the figure keeps going up,” he said.

The civic body,however,has allocated its own funds and employed 358 personnel at the insect control department. According to the PMC data,from January till June this year,there were 38 cases of malaria with no death,19 suspected cases of dengue with eight confirmed positive by the National Institute of Virology and 15 suspected cases of chikungunya. In 2010,there were 137 cases of malaria and in 2011,94 cases were detected in municipal corporation area according to data collected from 209 private laboratories in the city. According to Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) health officers,there were 80 cases of malaria from January till June this year and five patients with dengue in its jurisdiction.

Khanande said from January till June this year,there were 21,446 cases of malaria in the state with 11 deaths (four from Mumbai,three from Chandrapur,two from Thane and one each from Nashik and Wardha). During the same period last year,there were 45,093 cases with 27 deaths,he said. There were three dengue deaths from January till June (two from Kolhapur and one from Raigad),he added.

Cases at Sassoon

There have nine cases of dengue with one death and 48 cases of malaria with two deaths at Sassoon general hospital from January till June this year. Data was obtained on the number of diseases during the period by RTI activist Vihar Durve. The hospital,in its statement,said that during the same period,there were 57 persons suffering from hepatitis and nine had died of the disease,six were diagnosed with leptospirosis and the disease had claimed two lives. A total of 27 persons had typhoid. Sassoon general hospital authorities said their patients were mainly from areas surrounding Pune and other states.

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