Unite to eradicate vector borne diseases

19 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

There is a famous saying in Bengali, ‘Morar Upor Kharar Gha’, about subjecting an ailing person to even more maladies. The prevailing health situation in Bangladesh is similar; with the people already suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, the monsoon brought along a dengue outbreak. If that’s not enough, now the cases of malaria are rising in several districts of the country. Truly, when misfortune strikes, it doesn’t strike alone but brings twos and threes for company.

Bangladesh had implemented a National Strategic Plan 2017-2021, followed by National Strategic Plan 2021-2025 for freedom from malaria by the year of 2030. But unfortunately, malaria cases started rising in the country again in the last couple of months, with a 34 per cent increase during May-June period compared to the corresponding period of last year. Of the total malaria cases, 90-95 per cent was detected in Bandarban, Khagrachhari and Rangamati districts, therefore travellers are directed to avoid these three districts to remain safe from malaria and carry it to other districts from there.

The rise of malaria cases is a setback for the elimination plan of the government, but it must be overcome if the disease has to be eradicated. Eliminating malaria is not an easy task, as it is very complicated and a district can be declared malaria-free when no indigenous cases are reported three years in a row. But like all diseases, infected people can carry the disease to an infection free zone to spread it once again and undo all the good efforts of the administration. Therefore, people must be made aware and part of the government plan as, without the cooperation of the majority, elimination of malaria, dengue, Covid-19 or any infectious maladies cannot be achieved only by the government alone.

People must realise that malaria is caused by plasmodium parasites, which spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors." Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. The control of malaria and dengue are similar, as both are carried and spread by different varieties of mosquitoes. Therefore, the drives against the Aedes mosquitoes which spread dengue, will also help eliminating the Anopheles mosquitoes which cause malaria.