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Outbreak of enteric diseases in Tripura

- Malaria toll touches 60 as state government gears up to prevent more deaths

Agartala, July 6: The Tripura government is fighting hard to contain rising death toll in malaria and an outbreak of enteric diseases has been reported from hilly interiors of Dhalai and North Tripura districts.

According to sources in the health department, the outbreak of enteric diseases has been reported from Dhoomacherra, Gobindbari, Natin Manu, Chhawmanu and Baro Haldi autonomous district council villages.

At least eight persons — all belonging to the indigenous community — are reported to have died of enteric diseases. But the joint director of the health department, B.S. Debbarma, denied any knowledge or report on outbreak of enteric diseases.

He, however, said he would seek reports from health officials in Dhalai district.

Officially, the death toll in malaria has reached 60. The figure includes 48 children. Releasing a list of names of people who died of malaria, health minister Badal Chowdhury said the escalation of the disease had been contained.

“Our doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff of the health department have risen to the occasion and are working very hard in difficult conditions in the interiors of the state; the outbreak has now been contained,” Chowdhury said during interacting with the media last night.

He said reports on malaria deaths and condition of health service were “demoralising the medical staff working hard”.

When it was pointed out that even chief minister Manik Sarkar had made critical comments on the performance of doctors and nurses, Chowdhury said: “You can ask the chief minister what he has said in what context.”

Dismissing criticism of the treatment method in malaria cases, the health minister said the “treatment protocol recommended by the Union ministry of health and family welfare” had been followed in toto in Tripura.

“We were following the treatment protocol that we had received last year in August, but there was medicine shortage which we have made up with emergency supplies.”

Official sources in the health department said though the treatment protocol was followed, the medicine purchase order issued by the department on April 5 this year did not include the anti-malaria drug prescribed by the Union ministry and this is the reason of high death toll in malaria this year.

“Now emergency purchases have been made but this has been done too late and the death toll could not be checked,” a source said.

Sources said the fact that there had been no malaria deaths in last three years had made the department “complacent and over-confident” and the outbreak of malaria of a particularly malignant form was a result of this “complacency”.


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