Experts warn of rapid spread of Kala-azar in Terai

Himalayan News Service

Hetauda, April 24:

Health officials have warned that nearly six million people of the Terai were vulnerable to Kala-azar. They said the disease, affecting mostly those from the economically disadvantaged community, could spread among 150 million people if prompt action is not taken. The remarks

were made at the national conference organised by the Insect-borne Disease Investigation and Training Centre (IDITC), Hetauda, which began from today. Chief District Health Officers and District Public Health Officers of 30 of the 66 districts with malaria problem expressed concern over the poor management of the disease’s control programme. The health officers were concerned about the problems faced during the research and control of malaria, Kala-azar, Japanese encephalitis and dengue, among others.

Speaking at the programme, the IDITC executive director Dr Krishna Kumar Rai said, “A poor family is forced to spend over 25 per cent of its annul income on prevention and treatment of malaria.” He stressed on the need for coordination at the district, regional and central levels to control the disease. Over 80 per cent of the population which depends on agriculture is vulnerable to insect-borne diseases. Nearly 50 per cent people are threatened by mosquitoes but there are only two mosquito experts in the country. Accepting that the success rate was not as expected in controlling the insect-borne diseases, the District Health Office chief Dr Girish Kumar Upadhyaya said, “We have to adopt a high-level of vigilance as the neighbouring country faces serious problem due to the disease.” The participants claimed that interference in staff transfer and political pressure were hampering the proper management of malaria control programme.