Malaria cases rampant in the district2 min read
Udupi: This year’s monsoon brought more than just rains for the construction workers of Udupi district. According to official records, out of the 1019 malaria cases from January to July, more than 45 percent was urban malaria.
“The incidence of malaria in the coastal belt is entirely a construction problem,” says Dr. H. Ashok, District Vector-Borne Control Officer. He goes onto say, “I suggest that next year before starting construction, builders should provide a complete and updated worker’s list. This way we can keep a check on every site and every worker. If this list is not provided, the license for construction should be revoked.”
But how far such steps will hamper the minuscule parasite from giving sleepless nights and days to them, wonders Ganesh and many construction labourers like him. Ganesh Halder shares his troubles, “I have had very high fever for the past few days. It might be malaria, as all the symptoms match. But I am apprehensive to visit a doctor as treatment is expensive. Also I cannot afford to lose a day of work.” After leaving his home town Kolkata, he is currently working at a construction site at End-Point road in Manipal.
There are many migrant workers like him who are left prone to many other diseases like malaria because of unhealthy surroundings and living conditions. “We all share only one room to sleep in with our families, including a small bathing place. The empty space with bushes behind the site is what we use as the latrine. Some of us have to sleep out in the open, as there is no place inside the room. The water stagnates right next to us,” laments Kumara, one of the workers of the upcoming Aditi Sourabh Apartments.
However, steps to put a halt to the rising numbers of malaria patients are being enacted now. “Eight teams of doctors and a supervisor have been doing rounds every Tuesday and Wednesday, covering almost 57 construction sites. Field level spraying, inspection of larval sites and over 9000 blood screens have taken place,” informs Dr. Ashok. “Over 200 teachers from high schools and pre-universities have attended classes on the disease. Nursing students also volunteer to spread awareness and bring this disease under control,” adds the District Officer.
But everything seems to be trailed by a big question mark when other official reports are brought to light. Certain reports have been received at the District Office mentioning partial treatment and discharging of patients thereafter. This not only puts the life of the patient in danger but also many others.
Meanwhile, the female Anopheles mosquito rejoices as construction doesn’t seem to slow down for a break.