Chennai: Stormwater drains in two zones of the Chennai Corporation have been digitally mapped using the geographic information system (GIS).

Public health experts stressed the urgent need to address global warming and its dangerous effects on health at the recently concluded three-day long 52nd National Conference of Indian Public Health A

A map, which pin-points the location of India's remote villages worst affected by malaria, will now spearhead the country's war against the vector-borne disease.

Alipurduar: In a move to control Malaria in Jalpaiguri, the district health officials with the help of the forest department and NGOs will set up 55 fever treatment depots (FTDs), along with laboratories, in 76 forest villages. Thousands of people suffer from malaria and die of the disease in the district every year. Among the worst affected areas are forest villages which do not have sufficient medical facilities. The North Bengal Development Council has already sanctioned Rs 49 lakh and eight NGOs in the district have been selected to make the project successful. Besides testing blood at the laboratories, health staff will be distributing mosquito nets to the villagers under the scheme.

For years the global malaria effort has been asking for more resources.Now the field needs to figure out a systematic strategy for spending the money effectively.

With money now flowing in, the fight against malaria must shift from advocacy to getting results. (Editorial)

With 1.67 million cases of malaria and around 1,000 deaths last year, the government has changed the drug policy and directed states from January this year to introduce the ACT (artesunate and sulpha pyrimethamine) combination as the first line of anti-malarial drug treatment in chloroquine-resistant areas. Dr G S Sonal, Joint Director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVDCP), told The Indian Express that there has been concern over the increasing number of plasmodium falciparum (PF) cases of malaria. India contributes to 77 per cent cases of malaria in South East Asia. PF in the 70s amounted to less than 15 per cent of the malaria cases, but this has now gone up to 50 per cent of the total malaria cases. Moreover the dangerous PF has developed resistance to chloroquine in various parts of the country. Sixty-five per cent of cases of malaria in various pockets of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal are due to PF and drug resistance to chloroquine is high here. Chloroquine however is useful in states like Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. At least one million ACT course drugs will be supplied to the high endemic states. So far the government had supplied 20 crore tablets of chloroquine in the country. This quantum of drugs will be slightly reduced, Sonal said. According to Dr A P Dash, Director, National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR), the PF species of malaria is spreading wider due to migration of population from endemic to non-endemic areas and drug sensitivity studies from various states have observed that there is resistance to the drug chloroquine - which is being used as the first line of treatment for malaria cases. The last time the policy was revised was in 2003. Vaccine for malaria Two sites have been selected for trial of a vaccine against malaria. Epidemiological and immunological data will be collected from the sites selected in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to test the vaccine. The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Delhi, has developed the vaccine and will be tested at these two sites, Director, National Institute of Malaria Research Dr A P Dash said.

A two-day workshop for "Prevention and Control of Vector and Water-Borne Diseases' organised by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi opened at India Habitat Centre here on Monday. Inaugurating the workshop, Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra emphasised the need to sensitise children to take preventive measures for control of vector and water-borne diseases. "A separate action plan formulated for children will be implemented in municipal schools, public schools and aided schools. This plan will create awareness and will also target residents' welfare associations, slum dwellers and municipal employees,' she added. Delhi Health Minister Yoganand Shastri congratulated the civic body for taking the initiative of organising the workshop and said, "It is only through vigorous efforts of the MCD that dengue cases in the Capital are on the decline. Local bodies such as the Delhi Cantonment Board, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Railway Board should come together in a joint endeavour to control diseases.' Addressing the gathering, MCD Standing Committee Chairman Vijender Gupta said the action plan proposed during the workshop would be implemented from April 1. Health Committee Chairman V. K. Monga and Municipal Commissioner K. S. Mehra were among those present on the occasion.

Researchers have developed the first animal model of the infection caused by chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an emerging arbovirus associated with large-scale epidemics that hit the Indian Ocean, seriously affecting the French Island of La Reunion in 2005, before spreading to India, and Italy in 2007. Using a mouse model, scientists of the Pasteur Institute and INSERM in France determined which tissues and cells are infected by the virus in both the mild and severe forms of the disease. They document their findings in an article published in the latest issue of the US online open-access journal PLoS Pathogens. With the model, the researchers show how after an initial phase of viral replication in the liver, the infection extends to the joints, muscles and skin

While the Midnapore West district health department has been testing anti-malaria drug on the people of Belpahari, over 10 of them fell ill after consuming the newly-introduced drug. They are being treated in Belpahari Block Primary Hospital where the condition of Mrs Sushmi Karmakar, 35, of Chutiapukhri and Mr Manasaram Desowali, 30, of Dainmari has been reported to be serious. Admitted 16 days ago, the condition of Mrs Karmakar has been deteriorating everyday. Similar is the condition of Mr Desowali.

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