Nagamma, a resident of Morgans Gate, had returned from her hometown in Gadag district on Saturday, May 13, when a group of volunteers from the Health Department knocked her door.
The volunteers asked about her health and then sought her blood sample to test the same for malaria. When Nagaamma said that she was fine, the volunteers said the sample is being collected to check for symptoms of malaria. Nagamma obliged while volunteers said free medicines will be provided if the report is positive for the disease.
Nagamma’s house is one among many visited by the volunteers on the same day, in Jeppu locality, where malaria is endemic. Majority of malaria cases in Dakshina Kannada are from Mangaluru.
Drive to prevent spread of malaria
District Vector-Borne Disease Control Officer Naveenchandra Kulal said that door-to-door visits of volunteers for blood sample collection is part of a drive to prevent the spread of malaria. The drive is being intensified after the city had intermittent rains for the last few days, which is conducive for its spread.
“Unlike in the past, we are now trying to detect malaria at the stage of infection. Those found positive are being treated, before it reaches a stage where the victim catches fever and becomes a source of spread of Malaria through fresh water breeding Anopheles mosquito bites.”
Dr. Kulal said that random blood sample collection drive has been started since January 2022. “Due to effectiveness of the drive, we had 18 malaria cases so far (as on April 30),” he said, adding there were 689 cases in 2022. Malaria cases have been on a gradual decline since 2018, from 4,741 to 3,897 in 2019; 2,797 in 2020 and 1,397 in 2021.
Dr. Kulal said the sample collection drive is regularly conducted in Jeppu, Bunder, Lady Hill and Kasba Bengre that are endemic to Malaria in association with Mangaluru City Corporation. Focus is on construction sites where labourers from malaria-prone states, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam, work.
Dakshina Kannada District Health and Family Welfare Officer M. Kishore Kumar said the drive is held as per the government direction. Besides sample collection, the volunteers also create awareness among people about Malaria and Dengue prevention.