Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 March 2015





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Government Gazette

Keeping ‘imported’ malaria at bay

Sri Lankan health authorities are taking special measures to prevent malaria from being reintroduced to the island through visitors travelling from malaria high-risk countries.

With seven months to go before Sri Lanka is certified by the World Health Organisation(WHO) as a malaria free country, 100% free of indigenous transmission of Malaria, the Health Ministry is taking steps to prevent the disease from being re-introduced to the country by travellers travelling or returning to the island, from high risk malaria countries, in an infected state.

“At present we have zero morbidity and mortality rates due to indigenous transmission of malaria, with no new cases being reported since 2012 and no deaths, since 2007. The only reported cases are ‘ imported,’ and even these have been drastically reduced from 95 cases in 2013 to 49 cases last year”, a senior health official told the Sunday Observer.

To prevent malaria being re-introduced to the country, the Anti Malaria Campaign ( AMC) has now appealed to all travellers departing to and returning from malaria risk countries, to take prophylactic drugs , prior to and after they have returned. “They can be living anywhere in the country and the transmission risk is ever present,”the spokesperson warned.

Ministry sources said, the AMC was currently conducting entomological surveys to study the malaria vector's behaviour and screening those living in previously malarial areas in the island, as well as soldiers going abroad as peacekeeping troops.

” All treatment facilities at government and private hospitals have been strengthened. We have enough drugs to supply them free of charge.

In addition, the Bandaranaike International Airport(BIA) has a special health centre where these drugs are available, together with screening facilities.

Anyone leaving the country to a malaria high risk country can purchase their drugs from the airport or call at the Anti Malaria Campaign at Narahenpitiya. A 24- hour hotline is now available on 0117626626, “ the source said.

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