Cuttack, Dec. 29: While the Orissa government has set itself an ambitious target of eliminating filariasis by 2015, the drug provided by it for free distribution in the endemic districts is apparently not reaching most of the targeted population.
Cuttack, a district identified among 20 prone areas of the state for implementation of the Filaria Eradication Programme, is one such classic example. While 2,650 filaria patients were identified in 2004-05, the number has gone up to 8,373 now, reports indicate. The government had provided over 20.41 lakh DEC tablets for Cuttack since 2005 under the Filaria Eradication Programme. But, more than 55 per cent of them have been reportedly gathering dust in public health centres across the district. They were meant to be distributed among the population in areas under Cuttack Municipal Corporation and 14 blocks of the district.
The district health authorities had managed to give out 4,53,982 tablets in 2005-06 when 10-lakh tablets were provided for distribution. Similarly, in 2006-07 only 4,02,431 tablets were distributed against a supply of 10.41-lakh tablets, official sources said.
Ironically, the district administration had decided to make the drug available at public health centres for public after nearly 7-lakh tablets were left undistributed in 2004-05. Conceding serious lacunae in the distribution programme, health officials like to blame the dearth of health workers for the low achievement rate.