About a dozen villages have been under massive Malaria attack in Farua Union of Belaichari Upazila under Rangamati Hill District in last June, which came to the notice of the concerned administrations timely. Unfortunately, adequate steps have not been taken up by 3 agencies- GoB line department, UNDP-CHTDF and BRAC, responsible for health sector in the area. As a result poor indigenous victims have been suffering from Vivex and Plasmodium Falciparum Malaria to indescribable extent.
The Belaichari Health Complex, responsible for the area under the Government line department has been able to distribute only 48 nos of Coartex tablets (2 doses for two adult patients) while the UNDP-CHTDF failed to contribute any medicine except RDT (Rapid Diagnosis Test) kits which cannot detect Vivex Malarial parasites and BRAC had some by which these 3 agencies have been able to treat only 128 patients of about a dozen villages, out of a few hundred serious patients. As a result, the poor indigenous patients have been forced to treat them with their own money and faced problems in collecting medicines.
Dr. Mrinal Kanti Dey, in-charge Upazilla Health and Family Planning Officer, physician-cum-administrator of Belaichari Health Complex formed a 3-member medical team with 3 Health Assistants (Tejendu Bikash Chakma, team leader, Rashik Kumar Chakma, member, and Chaigo Prue Marma, member) to negotiate the outbreak of dispersed indigenous communities- Guainchari, Tarachari, Egojyachari, Dundumya (Thega valley), Panchari, Mondirachara, Tankuitang, Raimongchara, Orachari, Lata Pahar and etc. under 4, 5, 6 and 7 no. Wards of Farua Union. BRAC represented to the crisis by its BRAC laboratory at Farua Bazar. We're surprised to know how a medical team could be formed without physicians.
As per study of MRG (Malaria Research Group of Bangladesh Government) out of 4 types of Malaria 2 types are found in Bangladesh and of the total Falciparum Malarial cases in Bangladesh 80% are found in the CHT (Chittagong Hill Tracts) and thus the CHT have distinction in the global map on Malaria. There are 13 Malaria prone districts in Bangladesh. Beyond 3 hill districts of the CHT the other districts are- Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Sylhet, Moulovi Bazar, Sunamganj, Netrakona, Sherpur and etc.
It seems that the outbreak could neither draw the attention of the Civil Surgeon office nor the Rangamati Hill District Council who are responsible for health sector in Rangamati Hill District. BRAC reports 163 malarial cases in Farua Union for the month of June, 2010 while the Belaichari Health Complex reports only 112 cases, it has been gathered. It has also been learnt that all the Health Assistants of Rangamati Hill District have already been trained microscope handling and 28 pieces of microscopes have been procured with the Global Fund money. But, not a single piece of microscope has been delivered to the Health Assistants as of now, though it was aired to be issued against them for on the spot Malaria detection.
The Global Fund’s main objectives in combating Malaria are to provide quality diagnosis, effective treatment and partnership building in Malaria control and the CHT get top priority out of the 13 Districts under the project coverage. It is reported that BRAC is the lone recipient of funds for Malaria treatment in Bangladesh and the last disbursement was released on 30 March 2010 and it received 3,099,909 US dollars in the phase II which was supposed to end on 30 June 2010, while the phase I was 7,615,562 US dollars. Bangladesh Govt got 14,102,704 US dollars in phase II as her portion for running the progrmme activities.
Unfortunately, still BRAC and health department was able to give medicine to only 128 (2+126) patients in this outbreak in last month and it raises question for their failure in providing medicine and proper diagnosis support. BRAC got 10,715, 471 US dollars funding against the entire programme. Global Fund is Funding 215,918,817 US dollars to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Bangladesh.
The recent Malaria outbreak in Farua Union has been controlled to some extent but still there are many Malarial patients in the area, therefore, the Global Fund, UNDP-CHTDF, DG Health Services and Rangamati Hill District Council need to take urgent joint action for the area as the monsoon is to continue for a few months more and it is also important to review the activities of the concerned agencies for their failure to respond the crisis according to demand.