Soldiers more vulnerable to tropical diseases

Updated: Oct 24, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

Jammu: Soldiers of the Indian Army are more vulnerable to tropical diseases because of their frequent movement from one place to another, medical experts said Saturday.

New medicines have to be developed to stem the rise in the deaths due to diseases, especially tropical diseases like malaria, TB and others, the experts said at a Continuing Medical Education programme at the Army`s Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur, 66 km from Jammu.

Maj.Gen. Harinder Singh, who heads the command hospital at Udhampur, stressed the importance of awareness, prevention as well as early detection and treatment of tropical diseases.

There is a "high level of vulnerability of the Armed Forces personnel to tropical diseases due to their frequent migration and exposure to inhospitable conditions", he said.

The programme was inaugurated by Lt.Gen. B.K. Chengapa, the chief of staff of the Northern Command who stressed on the need to make the medical officers aware of the changing disease patterns, noting how more armed forces personnel died of diseases than bullets during World War II.

"Tropical diseases constitute a major cause of death and disability in the developing world including India," he said.

"Unfortunately not much research is being carried out in this area. Like all other fields of medicine, a constant update of knowledge is required to remain in the cutting edge of technology in order to combat these curable but deadly set of diseases," he said.