Open border posing challenge to malaria eradication

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Apr. 26:A total of 1187 cases of malaria were detected in the country in the fiscal year 2074/75.
Among the total cases detected, Shudurpaschim recorded the highest number 586 malaria cases, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) data showed.
The EDCD revealed this information on the occasion of the World Malaria Day marked in the capital with the theme “Zero Malaria starts with me” on Thursday.
Speaking at the programme, Director General at the Department of Health Services Dr. Gunaraj Lohani said that the target of eradicating the disease of malaria from the country by 2025 would be possible only in the support of all sectors. Dr. Bibek Kumar Lal, Director of EDCD, said that the main challenges in the fight against malaria was the open border between Nepal and India as it allows carriers of malaria infections inside the country.
Also, due to the new federal structure, the work divisions and procedures have also hampered coordination to implement the malaria elimination programme, he added.
Dr. Lal said that the EDCD was working as per the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for specific intervention targeting the Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, the parasites that cause malaria.
According to the data, malaria cases are also being reported in the hilly regions of the country in recent years. Among the hilly districts, Bajura and Baitadi witnessed 60 and 33 cases of malaria respectively.
“We are conducting proper diagnosis of malaria and providing free treatment and medicines from the government and private health institutions,” Dr. Lal said.
According to him, 49 wards are highly vulnerable to malaria cases and 153 are likely vulnerable.
From among the 1,187 malaria cases, more than 600 cases are imported ones. “The cases of imported malaria have posed a serious challenge to the government to eliminate it,” Dr. Lal added.
The government has set the target of reaching zero indigenous cases of malaria by 2025. To meet the government’s target, the EDCD has been providing mosquito nets, rapid diagnostic kits and insecticides sprays for prevention of the disease in the malaria-hit districts.
According to Dr. Lal, Rs. 25 million was allocated for diagnostic kits, Rs. 7.5 million for mosquito nets and Rs. 33.5 million for sprays of insecticides for the current fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Our Hetauda Correspondents adds that 26 people have been diagnosed with malaria in State 3. The data was released on the occasion of Malaria Day on Thursday.
On the occasion, Health Directorate of State 3 had organised a rally. According to Officer of Vector Control of the Directorate Chandreshwor Jha, 14 patients of malaria were diagnosed in Chitwan and one in Kathmandu in the fiscal year 2074/57.
Likewise, five patients were detected in Sindhuli, three each in Kavre and Makawanpur. Among the total population of Nepal, 216, 706 are highly vulnerable to malaria infection and 927,414 are moderately vulnerable.
Likewise, in the current fiscal year, Makawanpur has detected two malaria patients, according to Chief of Health Office Makawanpur, Shashikanta Singh.

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