Jharkhand on Wednesday started a 15-day fever survey in villages across 15 Malaria-hit districts in a bid to identify cases of malarial infection among rural residents, health officials said on Wednesday, adding that the survey was a part of the Government’s plan for quick identification and treatment of malaria patients.
Special testing kits have been distributed among Auxiliary Nursing Midwife (ANMs), Sahiyas and Public Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the districts for the survey, said State Malaria Officer Dr. Shesh Narayan Jha, adding that all the rural residents suffering from fever or other symptoms of malaria in these 15 districts will be tested during the survey.
The fever survey will be conducted in West Singhbhum, Simdega, Saraikela, Palamu, Pakur, Latehar, Koderma, Khunti, Hazaribag, Gumla, Godda, Giridih, Garhwa, East Singhbhum and Dumka, a document from the health department stated.
This survey is being conducted in accordance to a directive of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which states that all districts where the Annual Parasite Index was higher than five must be included in the fever survey, said Jha.
Annual Parasite Index is the number of malaria patients found per 1000 population in any specific geographical location in a year. This means that all the 15 districts where fever survey would be conducted reported more than five
malaria cases per 1,000 population in a year.
The teams constituted for conducting fever survey will adhere to the Covid-19 protocols and wear necessary protective gears while visiting the villages, officials said. While the kits distributed among the teams will give quick test results, the Sahiyas have also been trained to conduct slide tests for malaria, which gives more efficient results.
If a person suffering from fever tests negative for malaria on the test kit, the teams will conduct blood test on a microscopic slide to confirm if the person is suffering from malaria or not, an official said.
As per data compiled by the Jharkhand unit of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, the state reported 37,133 malaria cases in 2019. As many as 16,655 cases of malaria surfaced in Jharkhand in 2020. In 2021, the state has so far reported 6467 cases of malaria from January to July against 6692 cases reported from January to July in 2020, highlights government data.
While figures indicate that measures taken to fight Covid-19 were partly responsible for the drop in cases of Malaria, Jha said that intensified campaigns against vector-borne diseases had a greater role to play in checking dengue and malaria cases than Covid-induced precautionary measures.