Accredited Social Health Activists Current Affairs - 2019
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Odisha is highly endemic for malaria and bears almost a quarter of the country’s disease burden. Through its innovative methods involving non-health workers in malaria control, Odisha was able to reduce the number of cases by 80 per cent.
How Odisha fought the battle?
The battle of Odisha resulted has resulted in the decline in the number of cases. Close to 4, 44, 850 cases of malaria in 2016 in the State and it dropped to around 55,360 till October 2018. Deaths were reduced from 77 in 2016 to four in 2018. Odisha achieved this significant achievement through:
- Additional investments were provided for the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Comprehensive Case Management Programme (CMP) to experiment with the interventions required.
- Challenges such as unavailability of drugs when roads get cut off due to rain, or health workers facing difficulty in reaching remote villages when blocked by elephants, were addressed.
- Alternative providers like teachers, forest animators were trained to do mass screening by running blood tests and providing medication to villagers in the areas where Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were unable to reach.
- Districts were divided into a control block and an intervention block, based on instances of malaria under the CMP and activities were intensified while in the control block things went on as usual.
- People were screened even if they had no symptoms of malaria in hill-top areas. If their blood samples showed the presence of parasites, they were treated with anti-malarial drugs.
All these cohesive, concentrated efforts results resulted in the decline in the number of cases of Malaria in the state of Odisha. States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam, which have a high incidence of Malaria, can learn from the Odisha model to replicate the success.