As many as 3,434 students of government-run residential schools in Kandhamal district of Odisha have tested positive for malaria. “The affected students have been administered drugs. The health officials are keeping a watch on their condition”, said Kandhamal District Collector Yamini Sarangi. Blood samples of 19,767 students of 214 residential schools run by ST and SC development department in the tribal-dominated district were tested between July 6 and August 3.
The Collector directed the health officials to conduct the tests after 65 of 143 students of a primary residential school at Ranipathara were found suffering from the vector-borne disease last month. The Collector launched a three-month malaria, dengue and diarrhoea awareness drive last week and said the focus will be on school children. “The accredited social health activists and other health workers will follow up the programme. They will immediately refer such cases to government hospitals”, said Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Sapaneswar Gadanayak.
The students will be sensitised on the causes of the vector-borne disease, he added. The programme will start with indoor residual spraying (IRS) in all hostels and schools to check malaria outbreak. “We will provide medicated mosquito nets to the inmates and persuade them to use these”, said district consultant, National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, Kumuda Chandra Sahu. Kandhamal has recorded two deaths due to malaria this year. Six persons had died of the vector-borne disease the previous year, while two persons had tested positive for dengue in 2014, sources said.
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