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Provide affordable treatment for diseases, doctors told

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CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: Organising committee chairman N.J. Shetty (left), Medical Education Minister V.S. Acharya and the former Vice-Chancellor of Gulbarga University N. Rudraiah at the conference on `Parasitic diseases', in Bangalore on Friday. PHOTO: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH
CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: Organising committee chairman N.J. Shetty (left), Medical Education Minister V.S. Acharya and the former Vice-Chancellor of Gulbarga University N. Rudraiah at the conference on `Parasitic diseases', in Bangalore on Friday. PHOTO: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Parasitic diseases like malaria, dengue, and cholera are on the rise, and the medical fraternity must come up with affordable, safe drugs for prevention and cure, Medical Education Minister V.S. Acharya said here on Friday.

The Minister was inaugurating the national conference on "Parasitic diseases" organised by the Janardhana Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Acharya said there was a need to create awareness about health and hygiene and the means through which these diseases spread, particularly in slum areas and rural areas.

Although considerable efforts in terms of research, drug development, vaccines and eradication programmes were on, the diseases continue to claim lives, and this should engage the medical fraternity since they affect mostly the poor communities.

On Thursday, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said it was a matter of shame that the implementation of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme had been a failure. Addressing representatives of 45 malaria endemic districts from 11 States in New Delhi, Dr. Ramadoss had said it was appalling that the number of malaria cases went up from just 50,000 annually in the 1960s to between 1.8 and 2 million in 2006 with 1,140 deaths. The number could be much higher as surveillance was low. Malaria-endemic districts should have GIS mapping. The Government would bear the cost of any new technology that would help control the disease.

Dr. Acharya said the three-day conference should deliberate on prevention strategies and control of not only malaria, but also all other diseases that were on the rise.

The papers being presented during the conference by over 300 scientists, and experts, were expected to come up with innovative methods to control parasitic diseases, and gain better understanding of the vector and corresponding pathogens. A network of experts on specific parasitic diseases, like filaria, bird flu, chikungunya and dengue, was likely to emerge, while new opportunities would be identified in combating parasitic diseases, conference organising committee chairman N.J. Shetty said.

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