Out of 27 priority diseases, malaria tops in Bo

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February 27, 2019

By Joseph S. Margai

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Dr. Ronald Carshon-Marsh: now faces the task of tackling the increase in malaria reported cases

Bo District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr. Ronald Carshon-Marsh, has disclosed that out of the 27 priority diseases including pneumonia, typhoid, diarrhoea, among others, malaria tops in Bo District, reaching almost 85 percent of reported cases annually.

Dr. Carshon-Marsh, who was speaking in an interview in his office in Bo city, last Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, said the prevalence of malaria in Bo was as a result of the high mosquito population in the district.

“People go to the swamps every day to cultivate crops and spend lots of time there. They are usually bitten by mosquitoes, which subsequently makes them to contract malaria,” he explained.

Dr. Carshon-Marsh said to alleviate the problem, they normally distribute bed net every three year, but noted that it was dependent on the individual to use the bed net.

He added that they also have social mobilisation and communication team that sensitises people on the radio and also holds community meetings, so as to urge them to use the bed nets.

He said the free health care initiative for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five was still in progress with people benefiting from it.

“The government has included victims of sexual based violence, persons with disability, and children orphaned by Ebola. The good news is that under this government, we received free health care drugs on time in January 2019 for the first quarter,” he disclosed.

He narrated that whenever they receive the drugs, they in turn distribute them to the Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), which have mini stores to preserve the drugs.

According to him, the District Health Management Team (DHMT) would always do a follow-up and conduct monitoring in the various PHUs in order to ascertain whether the free health care drugs are properly stored and used for the right purposes.

He however said the drug stores at the PHUs are a bit hot because medical officials are of the fear that when the doors and windows are left opened, thieves might cart away the drugs.

Dr. Carshon-Marsh disclosed that they no longer have cost recovery drugs since 2012, noting that what they do now are consultations, laboratory tests, and drug prescriptions for the patient, who in turn go to the pharmacy and buy the drugs for themselves.

“This government is pushing hard to see how it could bring back the cost recovery drugs so as to sell them to patient at a reduce cost,” he said, and noted that they also have emergency cases like road traffic crashes, arson, etc.

He said there are cases of malnutrition among children in the district, albeit on a moderate rate.

He noted that donor partners like Irish Aid and UNICEF were supporting them with plumpy nut, a highly nutritious food for malnourished children, but noted that there were issues of misuse on the part of both the parents and health workers.

“The donors were complaining that they were seeing plumpy nuts and other foodstuff meant for malnourished children being sold in the market. They were surprised with this ugly development as their concern was that the real beneficiaries were not getting the nutritious food. In this regard, they started to shy away from supporting malnourished children,” he disclosed.

He said their focus now is to see how to prevent malnutrition through intensive sensitisation on the radio and community meetings.

Dr. Carshon-Marsh cited cases of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) like syphilis, gonorrhoea, AIDS, among others, noting that they were currently embarking on health promotions, prevention and free treatment to tackle the problem.