Agartala: Like in previous years, there has again been an outbreak of malaria in different parts of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas of Tripura, a health official said.

An official, on condition of anonymity, said that more than a thousand people have been infected with malaria so far this year. The health department had fallen short of staff for the past two years due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the official added.

However, the newly appointed doctors of the department will join work in the next few days, the official said, adding that the medical services for malaria will be better in a few days.

According to the health official, the prevalence of malaria in Tripura usually remains high from June to August every year. According to him, during the monsoons, people go to the hills to cultivate jhum, many of whom stay there mountains for three months. During that time, nobody follow any rules, he added.

Such farmers are advised to adhere to certain restrictions. However, every time they ignore the rules, it often leads to malaria outbreak and even deaths.

The official claimed that the health department staff went to the houses of the jhum cultivators to test the samples before the outbreak of malaria. “But it is not possible to test them because they don’t remain at home. As a result, it is not possible to provide timely medical services even if they are infected with malaria,” he said.

The official added that the farmers are given medicines and mosquito nets to prevent malaria. However, they do not use the mosquito nets either, he said.

According to the official, there has been a shortage of health workers due to the coronavirus outbreak for the last two years. “The same health worker has to examine COVID-19 cases. He also has to rush to test malaria samples. As a result, health workers are now disoriented,” he said.

He claimed that there are areas where one has to walk 7 to 8 km. “As a result, the treatment of malaria is being disrupted,” the official claimed.

“For example, only one doctor has been working at a primary health centre in Dhalai district for the last 25 days,” he added.

According to the official, it will be very difficult to protect the hill residents from malaria until they become economically and socially self-sufficient.

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Meanwhile, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) executive member for health Kamal Kalai also raised concern on the rising cases of malaria in the TTAADC areas.

Taking to social media, he wrote, “Many Children of Thuiya Chandra Para of Rajdhar ADC Village under Chawmanu RD Block tested Malaria PF positive. TTAADC health department and Team of Dhalai CMO organised a health Camps cum scanning programme.”

He also said that the main cause for people testing positive for malaria was because of the delay in providing health facilities due to poor road connectivity.

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