By Sudeep Ku Guru, Courtesy :-The Telegraph
The number of malaria cases reported at the district headquarters hospital here has risen following last week’s sustained rainfall. Choked drains in several places of the town have become the breeding ground for mosquitoes. The biological vector control method has also come to a halt due to want of funds.
Sources said that there was waterlogging in several areas of the town, especially the low lying areas following last week’s rain. Small puddles of water and choked drains in front of houses provided ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed. Hospital sources said there was an unusual rise in malaria cases during the last few days, but there were no reports of deaths due to the disease.
Swagat Sahu, a local resident, said that three members of his family got malaria soon after the rain stopped and one had to be admitted to the district headquarters hospital.
The use of gambusia fish as part of the biological vector control method has been stopped due to want of funds. A variety of fish called gambusia, also known as mosquitofish, had been pressed into the job in the malaria-prone areas of Balangir district to stop further breeding of mosquitoes back in 2004. It had worked well.
Chief district medical officer (CDMO) of Balangir Purna Chandra Sahu admitted that there was a rise in malaria cases in the hospitals over the last few days. “Yes, there is a rise in Malaria cases over the last few days. Unfortunately the biological vector control method to control the breeding of mosquitoes has stopped. We were initially very enthusiastic about the new method. But, gradually, we realised that there was no special fund provision from the government to maintain a gambusia hatchery. As a result, the tanks dried up and the fish died,” Sahu said.
There were 15 tanks for gambusia in the district. “If a handful of fish is released into ponds or breeding places of mosquitoes like drains, then the larva of mosquitoes will vanish within hours as the fishes eat them,’’ said Sahu.