A hotbed of malarial infections due to migrant labour at construction sites and hotels around the area, the Candolim-Calangute coastal belt has begun to show a steady reduction in malaria cases in recent years due to the pro-active measures taken by the health authorities in the area. The health authorities are known to have acted with a double strategy to deal with the menace and the results are known to be quite good.
In a two-pronged approach they tackled the parasite which is the actual malaria germ and also the vector which is the mosquito which breeds in fresh water. In both these areas, the health authorities of Goa demonstrated a tight surveillance of the construction sites and the migrant labourers along the coastal belt.
The result of the approach has been positive with the figures for the last three years at the Candolim Health centre showing a marked improvement in the situation.
In the year 2007, the health centre which looks after eight villages around the Candolim and Calangute area , had recorded 5,198 cases of malaria out of which 1,348 were of the plasmodium falciparum type. Falciparum is a dangerous malarial infection which can cause cerebral malaria and even death. The above figures had served to recognise the whole belt as a high risk area and therefore an aggressive counter strategy was evolved where the health authorities began demanding 100% health cards from the migrant labourers.
Builders were also sought to be brought in line with the Candolim PHC demanding on them to carry out anti-larval measures under the supervision of the health staff and those refusing to do so were penalised ad around Rs 70,000 was recovered from them. The PHC is known to have made over 4000 health cards and renewed nearly 700 health cards in the year 2007
Such a sustained campaign gradually saw the malarial cases in Candolim PHC declining to 2,921 in 2008 out of which only 778 were of the falciparum type. The fines had surged to Rs 1,14,000. The PHC also made over 5550 new health cards and renewed over 1300 cards.
This year in 2009, upto the month of May, the figures have continued to be encouraging and the malaria figures for the candolim calangute belt have been only around 380 with merely 100 falciparum cases. Fines totaling over Rs 15,000 have also been collected.
For parasite control, the PHC has organised many migrant screening camps to zero in on the daily wage labourers. Private practitioners in the area were also given copies of the national drug policy 2008 on malaria treatment to enhance rationality in treatment.
To tackle vector control, the PHC conducted house-to-house campaigns in malaria sensitive areas such as Khobra vaddo in Calangute, Ximvaddo in Arpora, Araddi in Candolim, Sonarbhatt in Verem and the 20 point programme areas of Nerul and Sangolda.
The PHC also had a propaganda to popularise the insecticide-treated bed nets at construction sites for migrant workers and also alerted and activated the village health and sanitation committees and introduced ultra low volume fogging machines in all sensitive areas.
More staff on construction sites, improved mobility in the field for checks and improved laboratory services by putting one additional laboratory technician were the other measures adopted by the PHC.All these measures have proven to give good results and the incidence of malarial infection has reduced considerably.
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