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Preventive measures urged to reduce malaria burden

ISLAMABAD: The health experts on Wednesday said that increased malaria prevention and control measures were essential to reduce the menace of malaria from the country.They pointed out that malaria was a life threatening disease, caused by parasites that were transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes, particularly in the high-risk season. They said that malaria spreads to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes, called malaria vectors, which bite mainly between dusk and dawn. They added that the non-immune travelers from the malaria free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected. Sharif Astori from Poly Clinic Hospital said that the parents of children needed to realize that it was their moral, ethical, and religious obligation to ensure that their children were protected against the diseases and disability through the completion of the immunisation course.He urged the media personnel to play their vital role in motivating the families and communities to avail the free vaccination service against the diseases, available in the hospitals. He said that malaria was an acute febrile illness, adding that the symptoms appear after seven days or more, usually 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite.  Astori said that the first symptoms may be fever, headache, chills, and vomiting and it would be difficult to recognise. If not treated within 24 hours, the malaria can progress to severe illness often leading to death, he added.Wasim Khawaja from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the symptoms like severe anemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. He said that in adults, the multi organ involvement was also frequent while in malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing symptomatic infections to occur. He said that the malaria epidemics could occur when the climate and other conditions suddenly favour transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria. On the other hand, the District Health Department has postponed the anti polio campaign due to uncertain situation and security reasons. The new schedule for this campaign would be issued in the next week. The teachers’ associations are targeting the inclusion of the teachers in this move. They are of the view that the court had already given decision that the teachers would be assigned no duty other than teaching and the District Health Department has violated the court’s orders by deploying the teachers in the campaign. The parents of the students have also voiced their strong protest over the deputing teachers in this drive saying that the schools remained closed for nearly three months on account of summer vacations and now detailing them in the anti-polio drive would cause loss to the students in terms of their educational activities. District Health Officer Zafar Iqbal said that the campaign has been postponed due to the security reasons and prevailing situation in the country and the new schedule would be issued soon.

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