A meeting held here on Saturday to review the situation of contagious diseases has decided to kick-start preventive measures on a war footing in the district.

According to the report presented during the meeting, the January-June 2012 period had registered a considerable increase in the incidence of contagious diseases against the same period during 2011.

There have been 56 cases of dengue fever this year during the period against just six last year. Hepatitis cases rose to 36 during the period from the six cases last year. There were 42 cases of hepatitis B this year against just one during the same period last year. Malaria cases too have registered a marginal increase from the 18 last year to 20 this year. Fever cases have registered an increase from the 22,055 last year during January-June period to 30,467 this year during the same period, according to the report presented by Health authorities.

Speaking after the review meeting, Finance Minister K.M. Mani said that an action plan had been finalised for the district with special focus on coastal areas and camps of migrant labourers. Special campaigns on sanitation would be launched in such camps. Calling upon the local bodies to lead the campaign, Mr. Mani said that in addition to the Rs.10,000 being provided per ward to the local bodies, the government has taken measures to extend another Rs.10,000 each from State Sanitation Mission.

The Minister also stressed the need to strengthen peripheral health dispensation facilities and said that inpatient facility would be started wherever necessary in dispensaries.

Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan who chaired the meeting called for a three-pronged strategy to face the threat posed by the monsoon. According to him, an awareness campaign on sanitation has to be launched immediately, hospitals have to be readied to face any epidemic outbreak and from the State government's side, all hospitals have to be readied with life saving medicines.

The district authorities have decided on a cleaning campaign employing MGNREGS volunteers in Pampady and Erattupetta blocks. Ten-member health squads will be formed before June 21 at the ward level to conduct the campaign. The squads will also scrutinise the functioning of hotels, wedding halls and migrant labour camps in their respective areas. Schools will be made to play a pivotal role in ensuring effective sanitation campaigns.

It has also been decided to hold a special session of the local bodies on June 19 to finalise the campaigns and action plan for their respective areas.

C.F. Thomas, Mons Joseph, K Ajith, MLAs; District Panchayat President Radha V. Nair; District Collector Mini Antony and others spoke on the occasion.

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