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Odisha’s malaria elimination scheme fails, medicated mosquito nets used in fishing

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Baripada: Malaria Elimination Scheme sponsored by Odisha government to control and prevent malaria in rural areas seems to be failure as the medicated mosquito nets distributed to the beneficiaries under the programme are being used in fishing in Mayurbhanj district of the state.

This came to fore following a report carried by Odisha’s leading vernacular daily ‘Sambad’ in its Bhubaneswar edition on Wednesday.

The newspaper claimed that the medicated mosquito nets are being distributed by the government in the tribal district, but the beneficiaries are using those in fishing.

The poor execution of the programme was reported from Masanga Sahi village under Shyamakhunta block where a number of medicated mosquito nets provided by the government were found put on the barricade of a newly constructed bridge on Kanchikhala river for dry in sunlight.

“Total 10.17 lakh mosquito nets have been distributed in the district this year so far. The scheme could not function in a proper way due to lack of public awareness about the use of medicated mosquito net in the tribal dominated district,” Sambad quoted District Malaria officer Dr Sashikant Sethy as saying.

“Similipal biosphere reserve and the blocks adjacent to it are the malaria-prone areas of the district. Normally, malaria is caused by a plasmodium parasite, transmitted to humans by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito. But, a new species of mosquito known as Anopheles fluviatilis is found in Mayurbhabj district. The mosquito is another threat to humans to cause the vector-borne disease malaria,” he was quoted.

Experts said that the dense and watery forest is the only factor for breeding Anopheles fluviatilis mosquitoes. While the possibility of spreading the mosquito-borne disease can be more in the district, using the medicated mosquito nets in fishing work is ‘unfortunate’. However, the health department has failed in creating massive awareness among people about the disease in the district.

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