Kailali authorities express concerns over vector-borne diseasesAuthorities in Kailali have expressed concerns over the fight against various vector-borne diseases like malaria, kala-azar (black fever) and dengue in the district.
Authorities in Kailali have expressed concerns over the fight against various vector-borne diseases like malaria, kala-azar (black fever) and dengue in the district.
Fifty-three people were diagnosed with malaria in various health institutions of Kailali in the last seven months. Though the number of malaria cases is shown to have decreased in the past few years, the current number is still alarming. According to health officials, it has been difficult for them to control the spread of these diseases because the virus spreads through Nepali migrant workers who return home carrying these diseases.
“Migrant workers are exposed to mosquito bites and most do not take preventive measures to protect themselves from it. They often come back to Nepal with the disease for lack of resources to seek treatment in India,” said Jaya Singh Bhandari, malaria inspector at the District Public Health Office (DPHO). He said the diseases spread further when those affected come in contact with other people.
As per the information available at the DPHO, malaria cases are high in Godawari, Tikapur, Baliya Chuha, Chaumala, Janakinagar, Bardagoriya, among other places. These places are the hubs from where Nepali migrant workers move to Indian towns in search of work.
Malaria was a major health threat in Kailali and its neighbouring Kanchanpur district during the decade-long Maoist Insurgency. The number of malaria cases saw a gradual drop when the government authorities launched vaccination and awareness campaigns, and provided mosquito nets and repellents to the mass public in these districts.
“Nobody has died of malaria in the past three years in Kailali, but we are worried because we have been unable to control the disease due to the constant movement of migrant workers across the border,” said Bhandari. “Around 60 percent of the total malaria patients in the district were migrant workers returning home from India.”
In the last fiscal year, 299 people were admitted in several health institutions in the district for the treatment for malaria. Of late, kala-azar and dengue are also posing major health risks in Kailali and other districts of Sudurpaschim Province including Darchula, Dadeldhura and Baitadi. Twelve patients were diagnosed with kala-azar in the district in the past seven months. A total of 12 people were found infected with the disease in the last fiscal year. According to Bhandari, although the number of malaria patients has decreased in the last few years, cases of kala-azar and dengue are gradually increasing.
Mosquito nets handed out to control diseases
With the onset of the dry season, authorities have been distributing mosquito nets to control the spread of vector-borne diseases in the district. According to Bhandari, about 71,000 mosquito nets have been distributed to the residents of various local units so far. “The local units have sprayed medicines in the affected areas,” he added. Bhandari, however, lamented that the federal and provincial governments are yet to launch more effective programmes to either control or completely eradicate the diseases.