The valley breathes easily – The Hindu


Seasonal illnesses drop in Visakha agency this year, though tribals are reluctant to visit hospitals

The silvery clouds embracing the mountain peaks and passing over the ghat road, leading to the Araku valley, delight tourists during the monsoon. In contrast, a short distance from the main road leading to the woods, the tribal hamlets are plagued by common diseases during the rainy season.

However, this year the incidence of malaria in tribal areas is about 55% lower compared to the same period (until July 10) last year. Authorities attribute it to increased disease surveillance, spraying insecticides to control mosquitoes and holding medical camps in affected areas.

Meghana, about 5 years old, was lying on a carpet on the dirt floor in the veranda of their house in Teegalamada village in Kothuru panchayat, about 5 km from the main road to Sivalingapuram. Her 10-year-old sister Lakshmi Prasanna covered her with a blanket. Both have been affected by malaria.

“We took the children to a private hospital in S. Kota where they received tonics and tablets. Lakshmi Prasanna has recovered but Meghana is still coughing even though the fever has subsided, ”says Bhimanna, their paternal grandfather, cooking on a wood stove just a few meters away.

When asked why they had not been taken to S. Kota Public Hospital, he replied, “They will ask us to keep the children in the hospital for five days for treatment that we do not. we do not have the means to do so. My wife and I have to manage the house and take care of the children.

Representatives of local organizations say many are undergoing treatment in private hospitals because they oppose admission to public hospitals and the loss of their livelihood outside of fear of contracting COVID-19. Most of these cases go unreported.

Monitoring

“Special agents have been appointed for field monitoring at the village and mandal levels. Long-lived mosquito nets were provided to tribal people and they were sensitized on their proper use, ”said R. Gopalakrishna, ITDA project manager. The Hindu.

On complaints of non-availability of malaria test kits and drugs to ASHA workers (licensed social health worker), Mr. Gopalakrishna denies any shortages and says the situation is monitored daily at different levels.

A total of 2,09,500 blood samples have been collected up to July 10 and 398 cases of malaria have been detected in the Agency’s 11 mandates compared to 2,06,905 blood samples and 901 cases during the period last year. . The cases of dengue and chikungunya recorded during the same period were six and two in 2020 and nine and one this year, according to Additional DM & HO T. Surekha.

“ASHA workers have been trained in the use of rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits. Providing a few kits to each worker will ensure that malaria is detected on site and treatment begins immediately, ”says Dayanand of Chintapalli, who has been monitoring the situation closely for two decades.

“We are given 20 paracetamol tablets a month, but no anti-malaria medication. We have to inform the ANM, if there is a case of malaria, to get the drugs, ”said an ASHA agent.

“Tribal people are opposed to coming to the hospital because some COVID-19 patients are being treated in the isolation room on a separate floor. We have all the necessary medical equipment and medicines, but they go to private hospitals, ”explains a nurse from the Araku regional hospital.

However, we learn that there are only two doctors against the penalized staff of 23 at the hospital.


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