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Meghalaya Government Intensifies Efforts to Combat Malaria and Dengue Amid Climate Change Concerns

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Shillong, June 11: In response to 14 malaria and dengue-related deaths in the past two years, the Meghalaya state government is ramping up its efforts to tackle these diseases, which have been exacerbated by climate change. Health Minister Dr. M. Ampareen Lyngdoh outlined a comprehensive plan to address the issue.

The Health Minister emphasized the state’s improved healthcare system and highlighted innovative approaches to reach hard-to-access areas. “The healthcare system in the state has improved many folds,” she stated, noting the use of drone technology to deliver services to 15-16 remote areas in the Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills, which are particularly vulnerable.

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She also stressed the importance of achieving zero malaria cases through community involvement. “We have to ensure that even if we disinfect the water bodies and stagnant drains, we use environment-friendly insecticides. We cannot afford to use detrimental disinfectants which will affect or harm the people,” she said.

Lyngdoh linked the rise in malaria and dengue cases to climate change. “Climate change is taking a toll on the cases of malaria and dengue, leading to its increase,” she explained. The minister noted that children under 18 are especially vulnerable to malaria-related deaths.

Addressing late reporting of fever as a significant cause of death, Lyngdoh stressed the need for increased testing at ASHA services, particularly for children. “We have noticed that late reporting of fever for a prolonged period is the cause of death due to malaria or dengue,” she said, underscoring the necessity of timely communication and public awareness in all local dialects.

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To enhance public awareness, the government has created flyers, hardcopies, and social media messages. “We will engage with social media influencers to spread the message more effectively,” the Health Minister said.

She expressed confidence in the medical team’s efforts and noted improved sanitation in various locations following her visits to 36 constituencies in the Shillong parliamentary seat. The minister urged citizens to familiarise themselves with redressal systems, such as early testing and using mosquito nets, to combat the spread of these diseases effectively.

Lyngdoh concluded with optimism, stating her hope that these intensified efforts would minimise casualties moving forward.

Also Read: Postcards from Meghalaya premieres on National Geographic, with airing of ‘A Shillong Odyssey’

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