‘Malaria cases increasing in border areas’
PESHAWAR: Unchecked travel between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran is causing rise in malaria in border areas, said speakers at the inaugural session of a three-day conference on Monday.
“The number of malaria patients in the border districts of these three countries is increasing alarmingly due to poverty, lack of education and non-existence of preventive strategies,” said NWFP Health Minister Innayatullah Khan.
He said that the health professionals of the three countries should examine the factors increasing malaria.
He was speaking as chief guest at the opening session of the second cross-border conference on malaria by the World Health Organisation. During the conference, health professionals from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan will present their nation’s strategies for Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programmes. The minister welcomed the decision of the three neighbouring countries to make strategies to eliminate malaria from the region. He said that malaria was one of the six main diseases which the government wanted to control.
Dr Huda Atta, WHO representative, said extreme poverty and mass trans-border movement were responsible for the sudden increase in number of diseases. She said that agriculture and school attendance were being harmed due to the outbreak of malaria in some underdeveloped parts of the world.
Dr Huda highlighted the sudden increase in malaria in Central Asian, South East Mediterranean and South Asian countries, adding that wars and extreme poverty had caused an abrupt increase in malaria. She called for checks at the border districts of the three countries to end the spread of the disease.