Odisha's Salman Who Fights Mosquitoes
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Odisha’s Salman Who Fights Mosquitoes

Salman Mallick has not heard of his extra well-known namesake. However when he talks about combating malaria in his Odisha village, the 25-year-old – unknowingly – echoes the reel life s Salman a lot quoted phrases from a a lot watched movie. Odisha’s Salman is without doubt one of the many foot troopers learn Volunteer Well being Practitioners (VHP) – positioned by Tata Trusts in over 600 far-flung villages within the state, particularly within the southern districts, to struggle malaria. “Once I commit to something…after that I don’t even listen to myself,” the actor famously stated within the movie Wished. Villager Salman, who has studied until the 10th, believes in these phrases, too. He’s dedicated towards malaria, he says. He is without doubt one of the volunteers chosen by village elders to unfold consciousness in regards to the mosquito-borne illness. “I had this natural inclination to help people, and was doing that from the very beginning in whatever little way I could. But the Tata Trusts and government provided me with the opportunity to help people in a structured way and get rid of the menace of malaria, says Salman, while overlooking the very first mass screening camp for Malaria and Malnutrition at his tiny village of Budabirmaha in Kandhamal district. The area – with its hills, terraced paddy fields, thick forests and slow flowing streams – is picturesque, but with the watered fields, the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest parasite that causes malaria – is rife in the region According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Odisha contributed 41 per cent of India s malaria burden in 2016. About 28 per cent of malaria deaths in 2015 were in Odisha. With neither accredited social health activists nor any health care centre at their disposal, many of the villagers fall prey to local quacks who charge them Rs 500-1000 per visit – an amount that few among the people, who earn barely Rs 100 a day, can afford. Villager Nimanti Mallick recalls the case of her three- year-old daughter, who developed a fever some months ago. “I took her to the normal practitioner. He did her blood check, gave her a B-complex injection, put her on a saline drip. However she solely deteriorated additional,” she says. Thanks to Salman, she adds, her child is well today. “He intervened on the proper time and educated us about malaria and its therapy, she says. Nevertheless it s an extended row to hoe. And Tata Trusts has set itself a difficult goal to fulfill. “Tata Trusts, with support from the government, wants to reduce malarial deaths by 50 per cent in five years, and the incidence by 40 per cent. We are targeting cut-off villages, the tribal regions, and doing our best to provide them with early diagnosis and treatment round the year, says Jayeeta Chowdhury, senior programme officer (health), Tata Trusts. The government of Odisha and Tata Trusts inked an MoU in March, 2016, to jointly work towards eliminating malaria. The programme includes mass screening for malaria in villages of five selected blocks in the Rayagada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts of southern Odisha. Mass screening is very important for early detection, and for afebrile (without fever) cases. If screened positive for malaria, the VHP gives the medicines provided by the government to the patient,” she stated. Near over 30,000 folks have already been screened to date in varied mass screenings held in numerous villages. Medicines or the fast diagnostic check (RDT) kits are supplied by the federal government of Odisha. The Tata Trusts distributes them to the distant villages. Just lately, the Odisha authorities additionally distributed Lengthy Lasted Insecticidal Nets (LLIN) to villagers. I heard there was one thing referred to as a mosquito internet. Nevertheless it was solely a month in the past that I noticed one when it was distributed to us,” octogenarian Nilson Mallick, the village leader, says. “We’re making full use of it, Nilson says, clinging to the web like it’s his most priced possession. The village head provides that the church bell is rung at eight each evening to remind villagers to make use of their nets. “That is when mosquitoes are most active,” he provides. Tata Trusts have reached out to 1.2 lakh folks in 625 villages. However there are loopholes that must be fastened. Villagers, for example, nonetheless imagine each fever interprets into malaria. Salman says he’s working day out and in for his group and can struggle malaria until the top. His solely demand: a room the place he can maintain conferences, give medicines and reply to villagers’ queries on malaria. Effectively, there’s at all times room for enchancment. Hope he will get it too.