An emergency meeting convened by district administration here on Sunday decided to launch an intensive sanitation drive at ward-level to prevent possible outbreak of epidemics in the district.

Addressing the meeting of the of people's representatives and health officials at the Collectorate conference hall, Additional District Magistrate T.V. Shobhana said vector control measures, awareness programmes and safe disposal of solid and liquid waste would be focus of the programme.

An urgent meeting would be held in all panchayats in the district to chalk out strategies for the smooth conduct of the programme, said the ADM. The local self-government bodies were asked to ensure safe and effective waste disposal mechanism in their jurisdiction without delay, she said.

District Medical Officer V. V. Venus said there was no reason for panic in the district.

“No major outbreak of epidemics has been reported from the district so far. We have a contingency plan in place. There is enough stock of drugs to treat the common diseases. And, there is adequate stock of disinfectants to check the spread of any disease,” said Dr. Venus.

Thrissur is prone to diseases like leptospirosis due to presence of vast stretch of kole lands and waterlogged areas. The farm workers are advised to take Doxicycline 200 mg as preventive medicine.

The health officials have also warned against self-treatment.

In all, 28 confirmed cases of leptospirois were reported from the district so far this year, said the DMO.

Malaria, which made a comeback in the State after it was officially eradicated several years ago, has been causing concern for the health authorities. So far, 116 cases of Malaria have been reported this year.

Dr. Venus said that the Malaria cases identified in the district were among migrant labourers, mainly from north Indian States of Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal. “No indigenous spreading has been reported so far in the district this year,” she said.

Regular health camps have been conducted at the places where there are sizeable number of migrant labourers, she added.

The district also reported 156 cases of Hepatitis A, 12 cases of Chikungunya and 109 cases of diarrhea this year.

Poor quality of drinking water, lack of proper sanitation facilities, poor waste management were blamed for the incidents of these contagious diseases.

An awareness programme will be held in educational institutions on Monday. The health department will chlorinate all wells in the district on Tuesday. Public awareness programme will be organised on the importance of keeping the environment clean and hygienic.

Many panchayat presidents attended the meeting complained about non-availability of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) fund for ward-level sanitation programmes.

The absence of majority of MLAs in Sunday’s meeting drew protest. Only three MLAs – V. S. Sunil Kumar, K.V. Abdul Khader and B.D. Devassy – attended the meeting. District Medical Officers, NRHM workers, representatives of civic bodies and health officials attended the meeting.

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