Speakers at a media orientation programme on Thursday said malaria cases in the Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) region have decreased sharply as the government has taken various interventions to prevent its outbreak there. As CHT is a malaria-prone region of the country, the authorities have given special attention in three CHT districts — Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachari — to make the area malaria-free, they said at the media orientation on occasion of World Malaria Day 2019.
National Malaria Elimination (NME) and Aedes Transmitted Disease Control Programme (ATDCP) of Disease Control Division, World Health Organization (WHO) – Bangladesh and BRAC organized the programme at DGSH auditorium at Mohakhali, reports BSS.
Directorate General of Health Services Additional Director General Professor Dr Nasima Sultana addressed the programme as the chief guest with Disease Control and Line Director of CDC Professor Dr Sanya Tahmina in the chair. NME and ATDCP DPM Dr MM Aktaruzzaman presented the keynote paper while former NP of WHO- Bangladesh Dr AM Bangali, MO, CDS of WHO Bangladesh Dr Mya Sapal and national consultant of DGHS Professor Be-Nazir Ahmed, among others, addressed it. Malaria is an endemic in 13 out of 64 districts in Bangladesh. The prevalence of malaria in Bangladesh has decreased since the government started the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in 2007.
Thirteen districts — Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban, Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Habiganj, Netrokona, Myminsingh, Sherpur and Kurigram — are the most malaria endemic districts in the country.
The CHT districts have perennial transmission throughout the year due to the geo-physical location, climate, and other favourable conditions for the vector species, the speakers said.
As part of different initiatives, insecticide-treated nets were distributed among the households under the three CHT districts.
According to the statistics of Malaria Prevention Programme, seven people died of malaria as 10,523 were infected by the disease in 2018.
Among the 27,737 malaria infected patients, 17 people died of the disease in 2016 and 13 died among the 29,237 patients infected by malaria in 2017. Dr Sanya said, “It is tough to eradicate malaria totally because malaria is a mosquito-borne disease. We are working to prevent the outbreak of the disease.”
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals, she said, adding the disease is caused by parasitic protozoans belonging to the Plasmodium type.
Dr Sanya said malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, feeling tired, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin 10-15 days after mosquito bite.