Meghalaya govt launches anti-malaria campaign

SHILLONG: With pre-monsoon showers already leading to waterlogging and breeding of mosquitoes in Meghalaya, the state government cautioned people against a possible outbreak of malaria, which claims hundreds of lives every year in the state.

The state deputy director of health services (malaria) is observing the month as an 'anti-malaria month'.

"The anti-malaria month is being observed prior to the onset of monsoon to increase awareness, encourage community participation through mass media and interpersonal communication and consolidate inter-sectoral collaborative efforts and with other government departments and ministries, corporate and voluntary organizations at the state and district levels for prevention and control of malaria," said a senior health department official.

State minister of health and family welfare A L Hek pointed out that "malaria morbidity and mortality" is a "major public health concern" in the state. "The disease is hugely affected by social and economic conditions and leads to poverty," he said.

Hek said the marginalized sections of the rural population with limited access to quality health care and basic facilities are often the worst sufferers. Hence, blood slide collection facilities, examination and treatment of malaria with the use of rapid diagnostic tools and better drugs are being provided free of cost at all state health centres, especially in the high endemic areas.

The health minister added that integrated vector management like engineering methods for source reduction, larvivorous fishes, long lasting insecticide impregnated nets, indoor residual spray ( DDT) and logistic support have been provided throughout the state.

He urged all citizens to take active part in prevention and control of malaria by adopting strategies laid down by the government through the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program. He added that prevention and control of malaria would be successful only with the cooperation of NGOs, health workers and through community participation.