Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 2:
Odisha Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak flagged off the Nidhi Rath, a state wide health campaign to sensitize people, create awareness on vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and diarrhea on Tuesday.
The Nidhi Rath campaign has paid dividends with casualty figures for these diseases registering a declining trend. There has been a 44 per cent drop in deaths due to malaria, largely due to awareness, supply and use of mosquito nets as well as sanitation measures, the minister said.
The state head of NRHM Roopa Mishra, who was also present said instances of dengue deaths in the state had fallen from 33 in 2011 to just six last year. She, however, conceded that the annual parasite index in state averaged at 5.3 which was much higher than the desired goal and that certain regions like undivided Koraput have a parasite index of over 10. There are districts where the average is less than 2 or between 2 to 5 , she said.
Referring to infant morality,she said the biggest killer happens to be pneumonia followed by diarrhea. As per the latest data. Out of every 1000 live births, 68 infants below the age of five die in Odisha, she informed.
” We are lagging behind the millennium development goal but we are trying to achieve it by 2017,” she said.
Health secretary P K Mahapatra said the battle against Malaria, Dengue and Diarrhea (MDD) was launched in 2012 by introducing the Nidhi Rath, which was to move around in each district and panchayat and it is now designed to cover each and every household. He underlined the fact that preventive measures are not the exclusive concern of the health department, there are several other departments which have been sensitized on their role and responsibilities on such issues. Resources have been moped up from departments like Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Development and Urban Development. The DFID, UNICEF, BBC MA are all partners in the effort, he said.
Mass cleaning drives, 436 demonstration corners at all health facility level will be set up during the campaign to promote hand washing , ORS and zinc supplementation while SMS messages on malaria, dengue and diarrhoea will be put to good use, Health department sources said.