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Drive against malaria: health officials rope in VSS members

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Worried over malaria menace continuing to pose threat in remote districts, the health department has started to take along members of Van Samrakshana Samiti (VSS) who are active in forest fringe villages.

Idea of partnering VSS is to reach tribal pockets where malarial deaths are still high. The department recently began training VSS members from far away places in Koraput and Phulbani.

It will gradually cover districts such as Keonjhar, a highly malaria endemic zone, Rayagada and Gajapati. At least 22 districts are declared malaria endemic in the State.

Sources in health department said VSS members with pre-requisite qualification would be identified and moulded into trained personnel to fight malarial menace deep inside jungles.

Their job would include detection of new cases and reaching out people in interior pockets with emergency services.

The department was eyeing at a force of 5,000 VSS workers in two years.

According to departmental sources, although there was a fall in malaria positive cases, by August this year, slide collection stood at 25,56,321, a rise of 1.36 lakh slides over last year.

Reported malaria deaths in Orissa were 192 out of 1068 in India in 2009.

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