Mangaluru, March 20, 2016: Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader launched the first ever Malaria Detection and Treatment van in the state in Mangaluru City on Mar 19, Saturday. The van, which has malaria test kits and all anti-malaria medicines, will be manned by a trained multipurpose health worker (MPW). The van will offer malaria diagnosis and treatment at people’s doorstep round the clock. One may avail the free service by just calling the mobile number 9448556872.
MPW workers will conduct tests and provide anti-malaria medicines at their doorsteps and thereby help poor save nearly Rs 1,000. The van will be in operation in 60 wards of Mangaluru City Corporation.
Minister Khader said after launching the vehicle that the Malaria Detection and Treatment van is a new step to control malaria in Mangaluru, which has highest number of malaria cases in the state. "It is an initiative of the department of health and family welfare to make Mangaluru a malaria-free city. People, who have fever or any other symptoms of malaria, may avail the benefits of the free malaria detection and treatment van by just calling the given mobile number. The van will reach the caller’s doorsteps to diagnose and distribute free medicines. The move will help poor not only in terms of money, but also by saving their time," he added.
District Vector-borne Disease Control officer Dr Arun Kumar said that the outsourced van has a rapid test kit in it. "Initially, the MPW will collect the blood sample and conduct a rapid test. If the test report is positive, medicines will be given to the patient immediately and later follow up will be done by the health workers. If the rapid test report is negative, a smear test will be conducted and medicines will be given to the patient if required based on the report," Dr Arun said.
"We will ensure sufficient stock of medicines for Plasmodium Falciparum (PF) and Plasmodium Vivax malaria in the van. Normally, a course of medicine for PF malaria costs approximately Rs 500 and the tests in private labs costs more than Rs 100. While tests and medicines are free in the van, it also ensures treatment without hospitalization, which incurs huge money for patients," he added.
The city has recorded 10,864 malaria cases in 2015. Meanwhile there were 11,714 cases in 2014. In 2016, there were 1,068 cases in January, 662 in February and 250 in March till date.