Malaria among migrants: Health Dept. found wanting

October 16, 2017 12:00 am | Updated 04:53 am IST - Kozhikode

Delay in diagnosis, patients leave State without treatment

The Health Department has reportedly not been able to effectively deal with the malaria cases among migrant labourers. There has been an inordinate delay in diagnosis on the one hand and the patients are found to be leaving the State without completing the treatment.

A case in point is the delay in diagnosis of malaria in two youths from Chambal region in north India, who have been working as barbers in Poovattuparamba in Peruvayal.

According to sources in the Health Department who did not wish to be named, though both of them have been suffering from fever and shivering since the last week of September, it took around 10 days for the doctors to diagnose it as malaria.

One of them, 18-year-old Ashif, was reportedly under treatment at a private clinic run by a senior doctor attached to the Government Medical College, Kozhikode since September 28. He was referred to the medical college and was diagnosed with malaria only on October 10. It is reported that he was given some medicines and discharged after two days, and directed to come back for further tests.

His friend, 33-year-old Nasar, was diagnosed only on October 11 at the medical college health unit at Cherooppa.

Blood test

Health activists attributed the delay in diagnosis to the lethargy on the part of the doctors to comply with the directions of the State Malaria Officer who had directed health inspectors and medical officers and doctors in Kozhikode district on August 11 to prescribe immediate blood test for those with malaria symptoms such as fever and shivering.

All the public health institutions were given rapid diagnostic technique kits too. Untreated and undetected cases may lead to a spike in indigenous malaria cases, the activists pointed out.

As many as 149 cases of malaria had been diagnosed in the district between January 1 and September 30, and 29 of them are indigenous ones.

Another problem is the hurry with which the affected persons go back to their native places without completing the treatment. Both Ashif and Nasar have boarded the train to their village on Sunday, according to their employers.

Asha Devi, District Surveillance Officer, said they had not been able to keep an eye on the travelling of the labourers diagnosed with endemic diseases.

“Some of these labourers leave the State as soon as they come to know that they are not well. Ideally, they should be under our observation. In Ashif’s case, the case could not be diagnosed early due to communication problems, among other things,” she said. The officer said the area had been sanitised and preventive measures had been taken.

Some of these labourers leave the State as soon as they come to know that they are not well. Ideally, they should be under our observation.

Asha Devi

District Surveillance Officer

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