Malaria Stalking Adivasi Villages in Parvathipuram Agency

A four-member team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) visited seven villages in two mandals of Parvathipuram Agency in Vizianagaram district on July 4 to study the ongoing health crisis and the government’s response to it. The team visited and spoke with local residents as well as health personnel in the villages of Chaaparaayaguda, Valasaballeru, Sandhiguda, Aviri and Rejjili in Kurupam mandal and Addanguda and Duddukallu in GL Puram mandal.

It was clear to the HRF team that despite claims by the government that malaria is under control, the deadly disease continues to stalk the Agency region. In all the villages that the team visited, fevers were rampant and we found patients with clear symptoms of malaria. Only a few of them have been treated by existing medical and health personnel. If the rest of them have managed to survive, it is only because they have been given some form of medication by local ‘practitioners’ who are unqualified for the job. The situation in the remote habitations is worse. That there is negligence can be known from the fact that the first round of anti-larval malathion spraying operations which were supposed to have been completed in late March have been done only very recently and that too in not all Adivasi habitations.

Potable water is a basic human requirement and the government has a responsibility to provide it to citizens. It is shameful that this basic need has not been fulfilled by the government. In most villages, chlorination has not been done properly in the open wells resulting in Adivasis consuming polluted water. Given the poor food security status of the Adivasis, they are more prone to succumbing to these preventable diseases. All that the administration seems to be doing is drawing up contingency plans and putting out statements of intent. Very little is being done on the ground. 

The medical and health department is consistently trying to play down the extent of the crisis and only resorting to temporary fire-fighting measures. This irresponsibility can lead to tragic consequences since if the extent and nature of the crisis is not even acknowledged, then prevention and cure cannot be taken up successfully. This has happened in the past and has only resulted in adivasis succumbing to these preventable and treatable diseases with fatal regularity year after year.

The HRF calls upon the State government to immediately rush additional medical and health personnel to the mandals of the Parvathipuram Agency. The health personnel have to be at least doubled and they must be recruited on a permanent basis.

It may be recalled that over 4,500 adivasis died of cerebral malaria in the North Andhra Agency region in the summer of 1999 and over 3,000 of the same ailment in the summer of 2005. The deaths were because they had no access to clean drinking water, inefficient and insufficient medicare, malnutrition leading to enfeebled resistance to disease, poor protection from mosquito bite, atrocious public hygiene and pathetic health intervention by successive governments. The negligence of the State in its minimal administrative and welfare responsibilities was the proximate cause of these unconscionable deaths.

This governmental neglect is still evident in the Parvathipuram Agency. Urgent steps are called for to provide appropriate and substantive medical care combined with nutrition and clean drinking water.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

KV Jagannadha Rao
(HRF State secretary)


Related Posts

Scroll to Top