Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government today termed international medical journal Lancet`s report on malaria deaths in the state as "ridiculous".
"I need to describe the Lancet report as ridiculous in order to dispel misunderstanding among the people," state health and family welfare minister Prasanna Acharya said while replying an adjournment motion in the Assembly.
He was referring to a statement made by Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan who quoted Lancet report that claimed 51,000 people died of malaria in the state in one year.
"World Health Organisation had already neutralised the report in Lancet, a London based health magazine," the minister said adding the report was far from reality.
The survey was conducted between 2001 and 2003, analysed in 2005-06 and released in 2010 by non-medical persons, he said.
There has been a sea change in the health scenario in the state within a decade, the minister said adding while the total malaria death in the state was 850 in 1997, it had come down to 198 in 2009.
"We are working sincerly to further bring down malaria deaths in the state," he said. Acharya also claimed that the union health ministry had praised the state government`s distribution of medicated mosquito nets among pregnant women and children.
The minister, however, admitted that the state was still facing shortage of doctors and other para-medical staff.
Opposition Congress, however, walked out of the House expressing dissatisfaction over the minister`s reply.
"A large number of people this year died of cholera and diarrhoea due to lack of health care facilities in the backward KBK region," leader of opposition from Congress Bhupinder Singh said.