Closure of Filaria Control Units at Ponnani and Tanur blamed
A spurt in the incidence of filariasis in coastal regions of the district, particularly in Ponnani, in recent months has raised concerns not only among the people but among the health authorities as well.
The closure of the Filaria Control Units which functioned at Ponnani and Tanur until two years ago has directly been attributed as the reason for the increase in filarial cases in the regions.
Health authorities admit that filarial infections used to be under control when the special units were functional. The units of Ponnani and Tanur used to function under a filaria inspector, supported by three field assistants, 12 field workers, one insect collector, one clerk, and one peon.
The units used not only to conduct frequent surveys, but also take blood samples at random and engage in constant activities of vector control. They used to concentrate on Ponnani, one of the most vulnerable places in the country, and do the follow-up work.
The closure of the units two years ago and the opening of a District Vector Control Unit at Malappuram by merging them, has apparently taken the attention of the medical authorities off Ponnani.
A recent check-up conducted at Ponnani found 146 fresh cases of filaria – an alarming number compared to any place in the country prone to the vector-borne disease.
Although the District Vector Control Unit functioning at the district headquarters has been strengthened, it has failed to provide continuous monitoring of the vulnerable areas. It has also failed to follow up the cases in a comprehensive manner.
Medical officers pointed out that even after they were tested positive to filarial worm infection, most people of Ponnani were reluctant to take medicines. Some of them bluntly refused to take the Diethylcarbamazine Citrate (DEC), the only medicine available against filarial worms.
Ponnani is currently the hot seat of filariasis in the State. Medical officers say that it is one of the most vulnerable places of filarial infection in the country.
146 fresh cases of filaria in Ponnani Call to strengthen awareness among people
146 fresh cases of filaria in Ponnani
Call to strengthen awareness among people