By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Human trafficking has become a challenge for the Anti-Malaria Campaign, Chairman of the Anti -Malaria Campaign (AMC), Dr. Prasad Ranaweera said.
When contacted, Dr. Ranaweera appealed to all those travelling to Africa or any malaria endemic country to test for malaria should they develop a fever within one year of returning.
At least, 25 Sri Lankans travel to African countries daily, a majority of them stay for about three months and then try to travel to Europe or Canada. Most of them say they are going to Africa for jobs, but are not aware of the country they are going to.
“We are not bothered if their trip to Africa is legal or illegal, what matters is if they develop a fever after returning they should test for malaria,” he said.
Last year, there were 26 patients, diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease, of them 25 had a travel history to Africa. From January 2022 till date, 16 cases have been detected. From the beginning of April 2022 till date, four cases have been detected, while in January another four were diagnosed. The AMC Chairman said in December, last year, two cases had been detected from Jaffna, while there was another case detected from Mannar twelve years after the detection of the last malaria case in the country.
Dr. Ranaweera said most of the travellers went to lesser-known countries in the African continent and were very vague about their travel history. “Some of them don’t even want to own up to having a passport,” he said.