Manpower shortage mars malaria control programme

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 2. All is not well with the national anti- malaria control programme, going by the findings of a recent high-level review. Conducted by the Union Health Ministry, the review has revealed that the programme is bedevilled by gross shortage of technical manpower.

The study showed that a significant proportion of the posts of laboratory technicians and multipurpose workers (MPWs) were lying vacant. This was a serious situation, considering that laboratory technicians and MPWs were two key sets of personnel required to ensure early and prompt treatment of the disease. This was particularly significant, as there had been an increasing incidence of the more pernicious falciparum variety of the disease.

According to provisional Government figures, 2.2 million cases of malaria were detected across the country and 1,080 died of the disease last year. Sixty per cent of the total cases were of the falciparum variety.

While there was a shortfall of 51 per cent with respect to laboratory technicians, the shortage was to the extent of 47 per cent with regard to MPWs, according to Health Ministry sources.

What was worrying health experts was that the situation was grim with respect to routine nationwide anti- malaria programme and the special World Bank-assisted project that was launched three years ago to exclusively address the problems of areas with very high incidence of the disease.

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