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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Indian nets to protect Pakistanis

Mosquitoes (or mosquitos) are members of a group of almost 3,600 species of small flies within the family Culicidae (from the Latin culex meaning "gnat").  The word "mosquito" (formed by mosca and diminutive -ito) is Spanish for "little fly".  Mosquitoes have a slender segmented body, one pair of wings, one pair of halteres, three pairs of long hair-like legs, and elongated mouthparts. The mosquito life cycle consists of egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages. Eggs are laid on the water surface; they hatch into motile larvae that feed on aquatic algae and organic material. These larvae are important food sources for many freshwater animals, such as dragonfly nymphs, many fish, and some birds such as ducks.  The adult females of most species have tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) that can pierce the skin of a host and feed on blood, which contains protein and iron needed to produce eggs. Thousands of mosquito species feed on the blood of various hostsvertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and some fish; along with some invertebrates, primarily other arthropods.

There was a time when ‘mambalam mosquitoes’ were famous – now you have them in every area -  be it – Triplicane, Mylapore, Medavakkam, Madipakkam, Parrys, Velachery  – name any area – most popular myths have been exploded – they are found on every floor of very tall structures too. All mosquitoes must have open or stagnant  water to complete their life cycle. This water can range in quality from melted snow water to sewage effluent and it can be in any container imaginable. Male mosquitoes do not bite. The real risk is from female mosquitoes that search for blood to provide protein for their eggs. Scientific research over the years has shown that female mosquitoes find their prey using a combination of sensory cues including light, shape, colour, heat, vibration, sweat and other by-products of human activity.

The World Health Organisation has expressed fears about an impending second disaster of water-borne diseases in Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods that has wreaked havoc in several parts of the country.  In a statement issued by the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the global health watchdog said that water supply was disrupted in flood-hit areas of Pakistan, forcing people to drink unsafe water which could cause cholera and other diseases. The WHO has cautioned people across flood-hit areas of Pakistan, precisely the worst affected Sindh province to be extra careful.  Tedros on Saturday highlighted that stagnant water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and spreads vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue and urged donors to continue to respond generously to save lives and prevent more suffering.

Situation in Pakistan continues to be grim as the devastating floods have caused havoc in the country, precisely Balochistan and Sindh provinces.  At least 1,545 people have been killed due to the floods across Pakistan and an estimated 16 million children impacted.  Following these, the  Pakistan government recently  gave a nod to the country's health ministry to procure 6.2 million mosquito nets from India, in a bid to protect the public from vector-borne diseases after the last month's devastating floods that killed more the 1,600 people.

"Malaria is spreading at a rapid pace in 32 flood-affected districts of the country where thousands of children are infected with the mosquito-borne diseases," Pakistan health officials were quoted as saying by The News International. The Pakistani officials said the emergence of malaria in flood-ravaged areas compelled the country's health ministry to seek permission to procure mosquito nets from India last month.  "The Global Fund will provide financial resources to the World Health Organization (WHO) to procure mosquito nets from India for the flood affectees in Pakistan," they added.

The Pakistani officials said they are planning to obtain the nets as early as possible and are hopeful that these would be obtained by the mid of November via the Wagah route.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said that health centres had been flooded, their supplies damaged and people had moved away from their homes. "Government and partners are providing safe drinking water and access to toilets to lower the risks of disease from dirty water. WHO has provided water purification kits and oral rehydration salts to manage diarrhoeal diseases. Partners are also helping ensure safer housing and bed nets to protect against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry," the WHO chief said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the United Nations launched the revised flash appeal of USD 816 million to respond to the needs of people affected by climate-induced floods in Pakistan.

Sooner, Indian nets would be protecting Pakistani people !


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Oct 2022. 

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