After polio, malaria is posing a serious threat to people living in militancy-hit areas.
To overcome the spread of the disease in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), urgent measures are needed.
“Due to the militancy, preventive measures to fight the disease could not be taken in these areas due to which a large number of people are falling prey to malaria, the majority of whom are pregnant women and children under five,” said Dr Muhammad Imran, Project Director at Save the Children, while talking to The Express Tribune.
“Every year 1.6 million new cases of malaria are reported in the country, out of which 90 per cent are from Fata, K-P and Balochistan,” he said.
The challenges in mitigating the threat of malaria are enormous but so are the rewards: saving lives, reducing poverty and making life better for millions of people living in Pakistan, he added.
The goal can only be achieved if all the actors in the sectors of health, education, agriculture, environment, information technology and the communities themselves participate in activities to control malaria along with the government, according to public health experts.
Malaria is the second most prevalent and devastating disease in the country and is among the six priority health programmes in the country.
Some of the challenges being faced in combating malaria include greater political commitment at all levels, control of irrational use of drugs in the private sector and timely release of adequate funds.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.
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