KERALA

Graft in filaria control project?

ALAPPUZHA APRIL 15. Failure of the authorities of the National Filaria Control Project to properly utilise the services of skilled workers in the various units under the project seems to have affected the project.

Going by reports from different parts of the district, anti-filarial medicines were not distributed to a large number of public during the sixth phase which concluded recently. A large number of unskilled workers from various women and non-governmental organisations had been employed at a considerable cost to distribute anti-filarial medicines in this phase.

Following widespread complaints about distribution, the authorities have come up with the explanation that lack funds was the reason for the failure to distribute the medicines to all.

But, according to reports, the real reason of the failure was embezzlement of funds, absence of planning and failure to involve workers under the filarial control units. It is pointed out that temporary workers, who were unaware of the seriousness of the work which they were doing, failed to distribute medicines.

There are allegations that the reluctance of the authorities to use the services of workers of various filaria control units was a ploy aimed at scuttling the project. According to reports, top officials of the project, who are wary of the possibility of winding up of the project once filariasis is eradicated, are behind the plot. There are reports of instances of unskilled workers collecting blood samples to test the presence of filarial worms and also testing of blood samples by them.

Sources revealed that the Kozhikode Regional Filaria Research and Training Institute had recently found that the blood samples collected by the Ambalappuzha anti-filaria control unit in April, May, August and September 2002 were not fit to be examined. They further noted that temporary unskilled workers had been entrusted with the responsibility of collecting blood samples at night flouting the rules that the collection should be done under the guidance of a health inspector and a field assistant.

It is pointed out that the distribution of preventive medicines was not preceded by a sincere planning to ensure its success. There are reports that the medicines intended for distribution lie unused at various places in the district. This failure of the sixth phase of the project, it is feared, would negate the gains of the filarial control project. The review of earlier phases had proved that the project was a success and it had succeeded in controlling the disease.

Meanwhile, there are reports of moves to wind up the Ambalappuzha unit of the project without any valid reason.

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