BHUBANESWAR: The measles outbreak in Rayagada has once again exposed the absence of health services delivery in the most- vulnerable pockets of the State. The Health Department on Monday clarified that out of the eight deaths, four were caused by measles but did not spell out if the affected villages __ five in number __ were covered under measles vaccination.
So far, 84 cases have been reported. On Monday, a rattled Health Department sent seven samples to Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) for investigation and five of them were tested positive.
The epicentres of the outbreak are Silapas and Rayalighati under Kadipari health sub-centre although the cases have been pouring in from five villages most of which are inaccessible. Sources in the Department said, measles vaccine coverage in these pockets is very low. In fact, most of the children, affected by measles, were not vaccinated resulting in the outbreak which exposes the shoddy health services delivery in these tribal pockets.
The Department sources said measles vaccines have an 85 per cent effectiveness which means in some cases, the viral attacks will take place even after the administration of the drug.
Nodal Officer of Disease Surveillance Dr Bikash Patnaik said the Government had rushed five medical teams to the villages and a camp had been put up at Silapas. The patients from Rayalighati have also been moved to that camp in case of emergency.
A deputy director-ranked officer was sent in to the affected areas on Sunday and an additional director-ranked officer was rushed on Monday. He will submit his report soon.
What, however, has come as a surprise is that why the Department was reluctant to investigate all the cases? The Centre had recently raised the same question while assessing the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project implementation in the State. It advised the State Government to go in for complete investigation by sending all the samples for examination.
Meanwhile, the measles outbreak has exposed the burden load in the region which has been scourged by cholera in the past few years. That the nourishment level of the children in Rayagada is very low has only added to the problems.