The arrival of winter and resultant drop in temperatures has come as a huge relief to the health department of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). After a tough four months of battling vector-borne diseases in the city, malaria and dengue cases are on the decline.
Malaria cases in November declined by 70% while dengue and falciparum cases declined by 50% as compared to October. In the past few months, the city witnessed a steep rise in malaria and dengue cases. On an average, 30 cases of malaria and Plasmodium vivax and 15-18 cases of falciparum were registered daily in September, the peak month. The cases of malaria remained as high as 2,878 in September, decreased to 1,152 in October, and further decreased to a mere 370 in November.
Similarly, the cases of falciparum were found to be 316 in November. They were 963 and 743 in September and October respectively. The number of dengue cases in November was 339, which was 699 in October, indicating decline of around 50%. While the fall in temperature is one reason, the constant work put in by the health department has helped. As compared to last year, the civic body examined 1.83 lakh more patients under ‘blood smear examination’ (BSE) to determine if they are suffering from simple fever or malaria.
Elaborating more on this, a health official of AMC, requesting anonymity said, “For vector-borne diseases, early diagnosis is important and our aim was to detect at the earliest. Through urban health centres and link workers, we targeted the slum areas of the city.”
The official further said that till last year, peripheral method was used to detect malaria in patients, which took around 72 hours. “But this time, we introduced rapid test kits, where 300 health workers went on a door-to-door drive with the kits to test patients.”
Medical officer with AMC’s health department, Dr Suhas Kulkarni said, “We went active on indoor residual spray and covered 4.5 lakh houses in high-risk areas.” He added that additional staff was appointed for IRS work and for the fever clinics set up in hospitals.