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Malaria in Khagrachhari kills 44 in 2 months

At least 50,000 attacked as disease spreads in remote areas
Jasim Majumder, Khagrachhari

Malaria has become alarming in remote areas of eight upazilas of Khagrachhari district, killing 44 people in about two months.At least 47,000 are attacked with the disease, according to sources at Khagrachhari Civil Surgeon’s office.

Unofficial sources however put the dearth toll at 70 and the number of affected people at over 50,000.

Sources at Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital said 100 to 120 malaria patients come to the hospital a day. The figure rises to 150 at times.

Officials statistics said over 2,000 people were killed and 1.8 lakh attacked with the disease in last one decade in the hill district.

The disease is almost endemic in about 50 villages in remote areas, from where poor affected people can not come to the district headquarters for treatment due to bad communication system. Health workers from upazila health centers seldom visit the affected areas due to bad communication system.

This correspondent during a visit yesterday saw rush of malaria patients at Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital, many on floors due to lack of beds.

Out of total 90 patients, 60 were attacked with malaria, mostly coming from different villages in Sadar upazila. Patients can hardly come from remote areas due to bad communication problem, some patients said.

“There are many malaria patients in our village but poor people can not come as there is no means of transport”, said father of four-year-old Sohel Chakma from Naimail.

There are mainly two kinds of malaria in the hills– Plus Modium Felcifarum and Plus Modium Vivex, doctors at the hospital said. About 90 per cent of the patient in Khagrachhari are attacked with Plus Modium Felcifarum type of malaria, Dr. Geeta Dev Barman said.

The hospital blood bank in-charge, Mohammad Abul Khair surveyed 196 patients in last two month. Among them, 84 were from indigenous Tripura community, 33 from Chakma, 11 from Marma and 68 were Bangalees. All were very poor.

Incidence of malaria is more during May-August among indigenous communities, particularly the Tripura community, said Khagrachhari Civil Surgeon (CS) Dr. Muhammad Abu Taher.

The disease spreads in hills during rains as the season is favourable for mosquito breeding, he said.

Alongside government efforts, an international NGO–Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)–lunched a programme this month to control malaria in Khagrachhari, the civil surgeon said.

Malaria patients on the floor of Khagrachhari Adhunik Sadar Hospital yesterday. PHOTO: STAR

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