Health Ministry pays Rs 5.8 million to release insecticidal mosquito nets stuck at customsThe ministry had purchased 77,800 such nets with last year's budget for free distribution among the people vulnerable to malaria.
The Ministry of Health and Population has paid Rs 5.8 million to release long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets held at the customs for months.
The ministry had purchased 77, 800 such bed nets with last year’s budget for free distribution among the people vulnerable to malaria. But due to the inability to pay import duties, all the nets were stuck at the customs.
“We have passed the cheque to the customs office,” Dr Surendra Chaurasia, an official at the Management Division of the Department of Health Services, told the Post. “We hope all the long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets stuck in the customs office will be released soon.”
The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division said that the customs charges of the insecticide-treated bed nets were paid through the budget allocated this year to purchase additional nets.
“We cannot discontinue with the programme, so we paid from this year's budget for purchasing additional nets,” Dr Prakash Prasad Shah, a senior health administrative officer at the division, said.
The Health Ministry itself purchases such nets for distribution among the residents of places where malaria case is detected. Two persons of each household get an insecticide-treated bed net and when a woman of a particular house becomes pregnant she gets a new such net. Single women and women whose husbands are away for employment get separate bed nets.
Nepal has committed to eliminating malaria by 2026. For that the country has to reduce new cases to zero by 2022. Among the 77 districts across the country, malaria control programmes have been launched in 65 districts currently.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. Infected female Anopheles called ‘malaria vectors’ carry these deadly parasites, according to the World Health Organization. Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets played a vital role in reducing the malaria burden in Nepal, according to the UN health agency.
Health experts say Nepal’s commitment to eliminating malaria by 2026 as part of the Sustainable Development Goal target will not be met if effective intervention programmes are not launched immediately. The deadly disease has been reported in the mountainous districts of Mugu, Bajura and others that were considered non-endemic in the past. In 2018, at least 229 people were infected with malaria in Mugu district and 85 people in Bajura district.