A third team of doctors from the Centre is visiting Shishila in Belthangady taluk where two children died of malaria recently, said H. S. Shivakumar, District Health Officer (DHO). The team will try to ascertain the cause of malaria, he said.
The team is “trying to trap mosquitoes and find out whether they are vectors for malaria”. The death of the siblings due to malaria was mystifying the Health Department and that it could be “atypical”. He said, “We are also puzzled on the source.”
At a meeting on malaria held in the city on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said the children’s death must be investigated to identify loopholes and to find out why no smear tests were done. He said rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits for malaria from District Wenlock Hospital must be shifted to Belthangady as the hospital can give test results within 24 hours.
He said even though the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) spent Rs. 5 lakh every month on malaria control, it was ineffective. Malaria cases reduced from 20,000 in 2005 to 4,700 in 2013 but of the 60 hospitals in the city, only 40 hospitals gave malaria reports to the administration. Mr. Ibrahim countered the DHO who told him that there was no malaria-related death in the district in the last two years by pointing out that during the same period, District Wenlock Hospital saw five deaths because of malaria. He said according to a nongovernmental organisation, there were 29 deaths since 2012 in the district.
He said the DHO would prepare a comprehensive report within 15 days and obtain accurate figures for a meeting with the Health Minister and the District in-charge Minister.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Family Welfare will form a team of 42 multi-purpose workers from the MCC — supervised by 12 inspectors — to visit houses and construction sites in urban areas, where the situation is “alarming”, said the DHO, Mr. Shivakumar.
Arun Kumar S.B., District Vector Borne Diseases Control Officer, Dakshina Kannada, said the focus in the “restructured strategy” would be on detection, especially in construction sites.