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Maharashtra, India: Malaria = Notifiable Disease

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    Posted: May 06 2018 at 4:00am

Maharashtra govt to soon declare malaria a notifiable disease

By Vicky Pathare, Pune Mirror | Updated: May 6, 2018, 06.54 AM IST
It will be mandatory for health sector stakeholders to report cases to state.

The state government has been striving to intensify its fight against malaria. Strengthening the mission and following the footprints of other states such as Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it has now come to the fore that malaria will be classified as a notifiable disease in Maharashtra.

The state has set a target of eliminating malaria by 2025 as against the national target of 2030. In order to achieve this, the state needs immediate updates on patients diagnosed with the disease from private hospitals and doctors. Once malaria becomes a notifiable disease, it will be mandatory for private medical practitioners, private hospitals and pathological labs to notify these cases to the government health department. The draft for declaring malaria a notifiable disease is with the state government and the notification is expected to be issued soon.

Dr Sanjeev Kamble, director of health services, said, “At present, swine flu, dengue, chikungunya and leptospirosis are notifiable diseases and now malaria will be added to the list. Once this is declared, it will be mandatory for health sector stakeholders like doctors, hospitals and diagnostic facilities to report cases of vector-borne disease to state authorities.”

Maharashtra had recorded 23,938 positive cases of malaria in 2016, of which 7,815 were plasmodium falciparum (PF), which is a more severe strain. The number of deaths reported was 26. In 2017, the total number of positive cases reported were 17,710 (5,629 were PF cases) and 20 deaths were recorded. Up to April 21, 2018, a total of 1,748 patients had been tested positive for malaria, including 351 for PF. This year no deaths due to malaria have been recorded so far.

Kamble continued, “The health department officials will be empowered to enter construction sites to check if the locations are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and take blood samples of suspected patients with malaria. This will help in finding malaria cases and an outbreak can be prevented.”

Talking about the decision, Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, deputy director of health services, Pune region, shared, “Until now, malaria patients being treated in private healthcare sector are not recorded. Once these details are shared with the government, it will help the officials to focus on specific areas where risks of outbreak are higher. Due to urbanisation, recurring cases of malaria are coming to light. There are also construction sites which become permanent breeding spots for mosquitoes. Areas that lack adequate cleanliness and have accumulated water are the spots where mosquito breeding takes place.”

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