Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
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By Our Staff Correspondent
The meeting, chaired by the Mayor, M. Shashidhar Hegde, was attended by various sections of society, including medical experts, social scientists and workers, administrators, and political leaders. It was decided to control the mosquito menace and rid the city of diseases such as malaria, filariasis, and dengue. The "Free Mangalore from Mosquitoes" campaign would be systematically organised, and a system of identifying areas where malaria was endemic through regular surveillance of perennial water bodies and others would be introduced.
According to an estimate, the city has over 35,000 open wells of which 15,000 are not in use. B. Srinivas Kakkilaya, medical expert of the Malaria Control Action Committee (MCAC), said people who had their own wells should let guppy fish into them. Guppies ate mosquito larvae.
The President of MCAC, Shantaram Baliga, said without the cooperation of people, it was not possible to completely control malaria. The fight against malaria would have to be a concerted effort involving people, the Health Department, social service clubs, and the medical fraternity.
Sajjan, senior specialist in malaria, said the three most important stages of the lifecycle of mosquitoes were in fresh water bodies. If action was directed towards them, 75 per cent of the problem could be tackled.
The Mayor, the Corporation Commissioner, J.R. Lobo, the President of Nairmalya Samithigala Okkuta, Vineeta Rai, and members of social service clubs were present.
S.K. Ghosh, Assistant Director of the State Malaria Research Centre, who had visited the Chilimbi Hills, Boloor, and other areas, spotted many mosquito-breeding areas and collected data about the larvae found there. The samples collected from an area included Aedes Aegypti, Culex, and Anopheles mosquitoes. This was nothing short of inviting trouble and a signal of the changes in the breeding habits of mosquitoes usually followed by outbreak of malaria, filariasis, and dengue in isolated cases or together. This was also the time when health authorities should spread awareness about the control of mosquitoes.
Mr. Hegde, who was accompanied by a team of social workers, medical experts, and officials, said malaria was more a social problem. Malaria, dengue, and filariasis could spread at a deadly pace.
Mr. Lobo said the corporation would soon open a Malaria Control Cell. This nodal centre would fund the control of all vector-specific diseases and mosquito breeding by creating a network of medico-social workers to spread the anti-malaria message. NGOs, social service institutions, and schools and colleges would be involved in this task along with the local people.
This was possible only through a sustained effort on the part of the local self-governments, he added.
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