The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Malaria scare secret cracked
- Raids on private pathological centres

Giridih, July 14: Health department officials today claimed to have cracked the mystery of the “malaria epidemic” in the state.

Following surprise inspections at several pathological centres here, some of them operated by quacks and technicians, officials claim to have stumbled upon defective microscopes, certificates for “malaria positive” issued in advance and also instances of wrong reading.

As many as 50 slides were seized from one particular centre, confided civil surgeon A.K. Mishra, and all of them were certified to be malaria positive by the clinic. But when the slides were examined at the sadar hospital, he claimed, as many as 30 of them were found to be actually negative.

The wrong reading, he said, can be attributed to defective microscopes, ill-trained technicians and possibly greed.

Most of the clinics examined by the team of officials were found to be operating in cramped spaces and without many of the mandatory facilities and working conditions, he claimed.

One particular clinic, run by a retired technician of the health department, revealed wads of certificates which were all signed by the “doctor” and indicated “malaria positive” but with the patient’s name and the name of the physician referring him etc. blank.

Paradoxically, this particular clinic is named “Malaria Jaanch Ghar” with the technician apparently keen to flaunt his past association with the malaria department.

Health officials claimed that the private clinics had created a “malaria” scare in the district. Similar doubts had been expressed in Jamshedpur too where health officials questioned the media frenzy over the outbreak of malaria.

But almost all the clinics examined here claimed to be examining a large number of blood samples every day, ranging from 100 to 150. With such a large number of people complaining of high fever, the samples need to be examined more thoroughly, acknowledged experts.

No action was, however, taken by the officials and no FIR was lodged either. Mishra said that they would await the complete results of the investigation being carried out, before consulting the headquarters and decide the next course of action.

The inspecting team also examined the Basanti Devi Goenka Seva Sadan. As a charitable institution, the nursing home receives medicines from the health department but complained officials, the nursing home rarely submits reports with details of utilisation.

When the team, therefore, stumbled upon medicines, supplied by the state health services but which had expired, in the nursing home, it created a flutter.

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