The state health department claims to have recorded a significant drop in the number of patients reporting to hospitals with malaria. While the 43,676 cases were registered last year, the number was 1.39 lakh in 2010.
With the department identifying Mumbai, Gadchiroli, Thane and Raigad as key pockets with most number of malaria cases, the focus this World Malaria Day (April 25) is to create awareness about the need to complete the entire course of treatment.
According to Dr V N Khanande, Joint Director of Health, there have been 6,377 cases of malaria and three deaths since January this year. He said a number of programmes had been organised to encourage inter-personal communication and the need to complete the entire course of treatment for malaria.
State entomologist Dr Narendra Jagtap said there had been a sizeable drop in the number of malaria cases. “In 2010, there were as many as 1.39 lakh cases with 200 deaths. Last year, we registered 43,676 cases with 88 deaths. Mumbai had over 10,000 cases of malaria while Thane had 6,802 cases. Pune, in comparison, had 214 cases of malaria last year in rural areas,” he said.
At Pune Municipal Corporation too, Assistant Health Officer Dr Vaishali Jadhav said the number of malaria cases in PMC area had dropped from 137 in 2010 to 47 in 2013. “A meeting with the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme officials has focused on how low cost treatment was available and simple solutions need to be utilised to prevent the disease, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and malaria prevention during pregnancy. Moreover, health workers visit at least 5 lakh homes every month as part of the active surveillance to detect fever cases,” she said.
This year’s theme is ‘Defeat malaria’ and the health department has issued a series of posters and other information education and communication material to be distributed at villages, railway stations and bus stands. In high risk areas like Mumbai and other districts, Jagtap said, a systematic process of issuing health cards to construction workers and migrants, so that they could be tracked, had been introduced.