‘42 malaria deaths in a month in one Madhya Pradesh district’

August 23rd, 2008 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Aug 23 (IANS) As many as 42 people have died of malaria in the past one month in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh, NGO activists said here Saturday. “The dead include 24 children, most of them belonging to the families of Saharias (tribals). Though the first death was reported July 25, the health department officials have still not woken up,” Uma Chaturvedi of Saharia Mukti Morcha told IANS.

The dead include 16 from Mehal Sarai, 11 from Bamhari, five from Majhera, three each from Badagaon, Ayodhya Basti and Ludhavali and one from Karondi, she said.

Locals say that the malaria outbreak has exposed not just the poor state of healthcare in the region but also the indifference of the doctors.

“Firstly the doctors are rarely available in the only district hospital in Shivpuri. Even when they are present, they simply refer the patient to Gwalior, 125 km from Shivpuri district headquarters,” said Prashant Dubey, a social activist.

“Since most of the localities from where the outbreak of malaria have been reported are inhabited by poor tribals, they can’t take the patient to Gwalior,” he said.

Shivpuri’s Chief Medical health officer, Harishankar Sharma, however told IANS: “So far only 30 deaths have occurred due to various diseases.”

Sharma said that four teams of health officials have been pressed into service in different parts of the district from where these deaths have been reported.

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