Calcuttans infected with Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malignant malaria, are more prone to death than their district counterparts.
Though the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) maintains an elaborate healthcare facility of 56 clinics to detect and treat malaria and more than Rs 2 crore are spent annually on an awareness campaign, mosquito control, blood tests and medication, the possibility of death from malignant malaria has been found to have doubled in Calcutta.
A recent status report published by the state health department on malaria reveals that in 2002, when the malarial death rate in Calcutta was 43 per 10,000 people, it was only 21 in the districts.
A state health department spokesman said the malarial death rate in Calcutta over the past 10 years had always been higher than in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi or Bangalore.
Mayor-in-council (health) member Javed Ahmed Khan held private practitioners and nursing homes responsible for the malarial deaths in the city. “Malaria is not a killer if properly and timely treated. The CMC offers free treatment and there is not a single death recorded among patients treated in CMC clinics,” he added.
Officer on special duty (health) Atanu Mukherjee said despite repeated appeals, doctors were still ignoring the unified drug regime for treatment of malaria.