Dhalai (Tripura): A malaria outbreak has claimed the lives of at least 20 tribals in the Dhalai region of Tripura. More than 300 are still said to critically ill with high fever.
Over the past few days, several cases of malaria have been reported from the Dhalai District, one of the country's most backward areas.
Tripura's Health Minister Badal Choudhury said that four medical teams have been sent to the tribal areas and assured immediate steps to tackle the situation.
"Till now, in Gandachara, the number of deaths is 14. I am going to Longtharai, and there, we have six death cases reported .In a few more places in the Salame block of Dhalai District, there are similar cases. And in the Ambassa Hospital, 130 cases have been diagnosed positive after blood tests. There are more than 300 patients admitted and we have sent additional doctors and nurses, there are demands for more nurses," said Choudhury.
The majority of the patients include children and youth.
"Yesterday, nine patients were admitted, among whom two who came from Dalapati, had died. Today, also a few came with loose motion and malaria," said a patient, Mangal.
The local leaders and residents slammed the provincial government and the administration for lack of measures to curb the spread of the disease.
"Since morning, we have been taking rounds of the nearby villages. There are eleven villages in this district. The administration has totally failed here. Here in almost in every tribal household, at least one or more family members are suffering from malaria. The situation really demands a special preventive measure but the administration has turned a blind eye towards it,"said a former Congress lawmaker, Subal Bhowmik.
Reportedly, a helicopter was kept in readiness for rushing medical teams and ferrying patients and five temporary medical camps are also functioning in the affected areas to treat those down with malaria and take preventive measures.
Poor sanitary conditions and water-logging during the rainy season has led to an increase in the number of Anapholese mosquitoes that mainly spread malaria. Nearly 1,000 people, mostly children, die every year in India due to malaria.
By Pinaki Das