Chennai: With the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH&PM) assuring of eliminating malaria by 2023, the figures indicate steady reduction in other States, but not so in Chennai.
According to the latest data released by the department, 177 cases have been recorded in Tamilnadu, in which 111 cases are from Chennai.
Speaking to News Today, DPH&PM Director, Dr K Kolandaiswamy, said, “The analytics used to calculate the data does not state the accurate count. With respect to Chennai, the population is equal to three districts and we have transit and migrant population, so we can only look at the annual parasitic incidences which shows that Tamilnadu is moving towards a malaria-free State.”
However, Chennai situation cannot be neglected how many ever times the authorities reiterate on the claim that the count has come down. When questioned about the surge, he stated that the statistics is not as serious as in previous years. “The city recorded one lakh malaria cases a few decades ago and the current count is certainly not intense,” he added.
He further stated that malaria prevalence is observed more in places like Wall Tax Road and Mannady. Considering the migrant population, he added that the cases are isolated across the city and cannot be boiled down to specific areas.
When asked about the measures, Kolandaiswamy said, “If a patient has been diagnosed with malaria, the locality comes under the scanner for a year and insecticides are sprayed regularly to control the mosquito breeding.”
For precautions, the overhead tanks and wells must remain closed and gambusia fish can be used to kill the vectors, he pointed out.
He further suggested that people should test for malaria even if they have a normal fever. “When they visit PHCs, it is done by default which does not happen in private hospitals,” he said.
Sources from Greater Chennai Corporation said medicines have been stocked up in UPHCs and they are monitoring the water quality on a regular basis.
It should be noted that slum settlements across the city struggle with basic consultancy. “The operation of Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) situated in the vicinity is not up to the par, let alone taking a malaria test,” said a resident of Perumbakkam.
While all this has been said, doctors continue to raise concern. Doctors Association for Social Equality general secretary, Dr Ravindranath agreed that the burden has reduced as against in the previous years. He alleges that the numbers may not be entirely accurate owing to the lapses in maintaining records.