Jul 19, 2013 News
– development linked to intensified operations
There has been a noticeable reduction of malaria patients, a development that has been linked to ongoing work by the country’s Vector Control Services Unit to address the impact of the disease.
This is according to the unit’s Director, Dr Reyaud Rahman, who noted that having stepped up its operation since the commencement of the year, the entity has been able to facilitate outreach operations in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, the locations that are ‘malaria- prone’.
The ongoing efforts, according to Dr Rahman, are done in collaboration with the respective Regional Vector Control Services and have yielded “quite an impact”.
“If we were to use our malaria clinics as a gauge we would see that the number of patients that come on a daily basis have actually decreased to some extent…So I think that our interventions and programmes are making a small dent in the state of malaria.”
Nevertheless, he noted that there will be sustained efforts to combat the disease in order to ensure that the gains made are not lost.
“We have to continue, because the name of the game is vector control, and we have to continue doing these operations that we are doing at the moment; if we stop then the situation could escalate and become worse.”
However, the Vector Control Director explained that although there has been a decrease in patients, this does not necessarily suggest a decline in the disease. He speculated that fewer patients could be a direct correlation to the fact that “we are actively controlling the problem. We have teams out there who are seeing the people before the disease actually progresses”.
Dr Rahman noted that the dispatched teams are able to do prompt follow-ups, even as he added that patients are able to visit the various health centres and health posts for follow-up treatment too.
Speaking to the efficiency of the teams, the Director noted that “our guys go directly into the mining camps…that is how we are handling it, we are in their faces; in person…taking the smears in the mining pits, on the floating dredges…wherever the miners are we go to them and deal with cases”.
However, targeting this threatened faction of the population continues to be a major challenge as, according to Dr Rahman, “although we have intensified our operation, because we can’t control when and where these miners go, we cannot always keep track of them”.
Moreover, Dr Rahman and his team of officers are urging that all miners continue to make use of the treated bed nets provided to them, free of cost, wherever they may venture.
The Health Ministry had earlier this year linked an increase in malaria to the growing gold mining activities in sections of the hinterland. Moreover, intensified measures were engaged to address the threatening health situation.
Relating the tedious process of taking malaria prevention and treatment measures to the hinterland, particularly mining areas, Dr Rahman explained the work of vector control workers, even as he emphatically outlined that, “the malaria workers work very, very hard to take treated bed nets and treatment to the (mining) camps”.
It was explained that challenges often surface when the workers arrive in the mining areas since getting to these camps entails malaria workers trekking for miles through inaccessible areas such as sections of Mowasi, Region Eight.
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