Children fall prey to malaria outbreak | 2017-11-17 |

Children fall prey to malaria outbreak

By MR Patwary, UNB     17th November, 2017 01:43:18 printer

Children fall prey to malaria outbreak

Bangladesh was once considered as one of the malaria endemic countries in South Asia as the disease was like the outbreak of small pox. Village after village became people-less as small pox was broken out in an epidemic form at that time. 

There were no human beings to bury the dead and those who were alive fled to other places out of fear of being infected with small pox.

The outbreak of malaria was also in an epidemic form during the period. Many people died of the disease due to lack of treatment facilities during that time. As malaria is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito, there was an urgent need to eradicate mosquito.

In the 60s of the last century, the then government with the assistance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) took steps for repelling malaria. The programme included spraying anti-mosquito medicines and providing a card on malaria eradication to each family. 

The health assistants used to visit every house to enquire about whether any person was infected with malaria. For this they had to put signature on the card for authenticity of their work. 

This programme continued till the middle of the 70s and it was heard at that time that malaria was eradicated from the country. So there was no need to spray anti-mosquito medicines by going door to door.

But it was heard in the middle of the 80s that eradication of malaria was not possible. Though the plain land witnessed success in eliminating malaria, it still exists in the country's hilly areas. 

Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Caused by four Plasmodium species (P vivax, P falciparum, P ovale and P malariae), malaria is a public health problem in 90th countries around the world, affecting 300 million people and responsible directly for about one million deaths annually. 

As Anopheles mosquitoes live in hills, forests and bushes it's not possible to completely eliminate this species of mosquito.

Malaria transmission is mostly seasonal and concentrated in the border regions of Bangladesh. Out of 64 districts, 13 districts bordering east and northeast parts of Bangladesh belong to the high risk malaria zone.

Nearly one crore people of Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Habiganj, Netrakona, Mymensingh, Sherpur and Kurigram are at the malaria risk.

The risk is high particularly in three hill districts -- Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bnadarban -- and nearly 93 percent people who suffer from malaria are from the three districts. 

Sometimes, the disease is spread in these districts in an epidemic form and thousands of people are infected with malaria, while life of the children gets endangered during the time. Because of less preventive power of the disease, a huge number of children of the three hill districts die every year.