Government’s anti-malaria drugs ineffective: Tripura minister

July 31st, 2008 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  


By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, July 31 (IANS) Drugs and injections supplied by the central government to prevent malaria in the northeast are ineffective, Tripura Health and Family Welfare Minister Tapan Chakraborty said here Thursday. “We are forced to procure anti-malarial drugs and injections from the market as stocks supplied by the central government have proved to be ineffective,” Chakraborty told IANS.

The health and family welfare ministers of the eight northeastern states in a meeting held in Imphal last month requested the union health minister to provide adequate help and support to curb malaria in the region.

The northeastern region is a known malaria prone region, with the disease claiming an estimated 500 lives annually.

“The union health minister, responding to the demands of the northeast, assured to supply family-size medicated mosquito nets and other materials to tackle malaria in the region,” Chakraborty told reporters.

According to the minister, the state government has pressed into service army helicopters to send doctors and paramedics to malaria prone interior areas of the state.

About 59,700 people were affected and 115 people died of malaria during the past three years in Tripura, the minister said.

Defence experts and union health ministry officials last month conducted separate studies on the spread of malaria in the northeastern states.

Meanwhile, a study by the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) on the genetic characteristics of the inhabitants of northeast, known to be a ‘malaria prone zone’ - may lead to fresh thought among researchers on how to develop a new drug for it.

Malaria poses a bigger threat than insurgents and smugglers to the Border Security Force (BSF) troopers and other security forces posted in hostile terrains in the region.

“Our jawans are now battling malaria along with snakebites. The two are turning out to be our biggest enemies in the border areas,” said J.A. Khan, BSF’s Tripura frontier inspector general.

Eight BSF personnel died of malaria last year, while 12 have died so far this year. No jawan was killed by insurgents last year, while two have been killed so far this year.

“It is mandatory for all those posted in the border to carry mosquito repellent creams, besides wearing face masks and gloves all the time,” the BSF commander said.

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