Dr.C.S.Jamunannantha ( S.M.O, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna)
There has been no malaria transmission in Sri Lanka since October 2012. Malaria has been eliminated from Sri Lanka. Although there is no malaria transmission occurring in the country there continues to be “imported” malaria cases. If we do not detect early and treat effectively. Such “imported” malaria case in Sri Lanka, the disease could progress to a severe and complicated form.
Indigenous malaria can return to Sri Lanka, since the mosquito that transmit malaria is still prevalent in the country. Parasites from a malaria – infected person who is not treated could be transmitted to another person by the mosquito vector thus beginning a cycle of local transmission. As far as the Northern Province of Sri Lanka is concerned, we have frequent invasion of Indian Fishermen. Last two years we have nearly 1200 Indian fishermen being under custody by Sri Lanka Navy.
They were detained in prison and under the supervision of Indian counsellors Northern Province Health Ministry is not aware about it. Most of the fishermen were send back to India without proper Malaria investigations. So we have a same situation as occurred in 1960’s when Sri Lanka nearly eliminated malaria from the country, but due to lack of necessary surveillance, an outbreak occurred.
It is observed that there is increased tendency to Indian fishermen to cross the maritime border recent years. It is due to South Eastern costal Indian sea has less amount of fish. It may be attributable to the establishment of Nuclear power plants is Tamil Nadu. Quantum Impact of the nuclear power stations at Kalpakam and Kudumkulam heavily affect the maritime flora by impairing photosynthesis. South Eastern India costal area having nuclear radiation belt from Kudumkulam to Kalpakam. Since sea planktons are diminished towards Indian costal area to Quantum radiation impact. Fishing yield also is becoming less in Indian costal area, so it is naturally make Indian fishermen to cross the Indo Sri Lankan maritime border to catch more fish. And it will be an ongoing bread wining process.
So Malaria elimination programme in Sri Lanka has to think about the ongoing Indian fishermen invasion as a big constrain.