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Habibulla Masum
Malaria threats pose a serious health concern as around 1.75 crore people in the country are currently at the risk of getting infected with the disease.
In the country, 13 out of 64 districts lie in the highest Malaria prone zone while 98 percent illness and deaths caused every year by this disease are from these 13 districts.
The districts are Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban, Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Habiganj, Netrakona, Mymensingh, Sherpur and Kurigram.
Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban districts are located in the highland and Cox’s Bazar in the flatland while the rest 9 districts are in the low-lying areas of the country. Besides, there are 71 upazilas which are highly prone to Malaria.
In 2017, some 456 people were affected by Malaria in the country among whom six died, said data available with Directorate General of Health Statistics.
According to a 2017 report by World Health Organisation (WHO), in Bangladesh, 93 per cent of the Malaria patients in 2016, out of a total of 29,247 cases across the country, were from the highly prone zone area. And among the total number of the affected, 13 people died that year.
According to the WHO report, currently there are 91 countries globally affected with Malaria while Malaria-infected patients amount to 216 million.
Currently, the total number of malaria deaths in the world is 4.45 lakh, says the report.
In South East Asia, the total number of Malaria affected people is 1.4 million while the number of malaria deaths is 557.
To eliminate Malaria from Bangladesh by 2030, the ‘National Malaria Elimination Program’ is working with a vision which includes preventing malaria infections in 8 districts out of 13 malaria prone districts by 2021 and decreasing the annual germs transmission rate from 1.58 to 0.46 from these areas.
D MM Akteruzzaman, deputy programme manager of ‘National Malaria Elimination Program,’ said, to control Malaria, Integrated Vector Management (IVM) is being implemented. Various social programmes are also going on across the country to raise awareness among the people about Malaria.
He said special mosquitoes are distributed in those areas by identifying the hotspot areas or villages so that they can neutralise or kill Malaria carrying mosquitoes. The move will continue throughout the year.
Prof Dr Sania Tahmina, director (disease control unit) of DGHS, said the government should discuss with the neighbouring countries to control Malaria in the border parts of the country.
She underscored the need for a sufficient number of water ambulances to bring the patients from remote areas to the capital by the river way for their better treatment.