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Field Station- Rourkela (Orissa)
S. K. Sharma, Senior Research Officer
2. P. K. Tyagi, Senior Research
3. K. Padhan, Assistant
Research Scientist (IDVC)
4. M. A. Haque, Technical
5. A. K. Upadhyay, Assistant
Research Scientist (IDVC)
The field station at
Rourkela in Sundargarh district (Orissa) was established in 1988 with the
following objectives :
a) Conduct applied field research on malaria.
b) Develop and demonstrate appropriate disease vector control methods.
c) Study socio-economic aspects of malaria with particular reference to
sustainability of interventions developed and
d) Facilitate transfer of technology to users.
Rourkela is an industrial city of Sundargarh district in Orissa state and is
located in the Garhjat hills of eastern plateau between 20o-12’N and 84o-53’E at
an altitude of 200 mt above sea level. The city is well connected by rail and is
situated on Howrah-Mumbai railway route of South eastern Railway.
Physiographically the area consists of undulating uplands intersected by
forested hills, rocky streams, rivers, springs and paddy fields in the valleys.
The area is characterized by a tropical climate and receives high rainfall
during Southwest monsoon (June-September) and retreating Northeast monsoon
(December-January). Average annual rainfall ranges between 160-200cm. The
minimum and maximum temperatures are in the range of 11oC to 44oC with a mean
minimum and maximum temperature range of 14.3oC to 39.2oC during coldest and
hottest months. Thirty six percent of the geographical area of the district has
semi-evergreen or tropical dry deciduous forest. Nearly 62 % of the rural
population consists of tribal population represented by 40 ethnic tribal
Local Malaria Problems :
Malaria is a major public health problem in Orissa state, which contribute
highest number of malaria cases (22 %), 43% of total P. falciparum cases and
about 50% of all reported deaths due to malaria in the country although it
constitute only 4% of the total population of India. Tribal areas of the state
such as Sundargarh district are the most seriously affected regions of the state
where malaria exists in meso- to hyper endemic form. P. falciparum is the major
cause of malaria and accounts for 80-90% malaria cases in the tribal areas of
the state, which have distinct ecological features such as hilly terrain, forest
fringe and forested area or foothill ecosystems where all the malariogenic
factors operate at their maximum efficiency. Malaria is clearly one of the major
health problem in this region and is responsible for significant morbidity and
The entire state of Orissa is under the influence of two primary vector species
viz., An. culicifacies and An. fluviatilis. The previously recorded An. sundaicus which caused many epidemics in the coastal areas in 1940’s has totally
disappeared. Of the two vector species, An. culicifacies is widely prevalent in
the plain and coastal area where malaria is less and seasonal, whereas, An.
fluviatilis is restricted to the hilly forested or foothill area of the state
and is responsible for intense transmission due to high anthropophilic index of
Highlights of the work done
Over the last 14 years of existence of field station in a highly malaria endemic
area, the following studies were successfully completed.
1. Bioenviornmental control of malaria :
An alternate control strategy based on bioenvironmental method was successfully
demonstrated in 39 villages (population 38664) of Bisra PHC during 1988-91.
Three years of intervention brought down malaria incidence in the experimental
villages significantly as compared to control villages under DDT spray.
2. Field trials on insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITMN) :
Efficacy trials on insecticide treated mosquito nets with synthetic pyrethroids
were successfully completed in tribal area of Kuarmunda PHC (population 6000) as
well as mining area (population 10,000) of the district during 1990-1994.
3. Community acceptance of insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITMN) trial in
tribal area of Keonjhar district :
A collaborative field trial under operational research studies was successfully
completed in a tribal area of Janghira sector in Keonjhar district. The three
year project (1995-97) was financed by Orissa Health Project Office of the
British Council Division with funds from Overseas Development Agency (ODA). The
project was first of its kind where an attempt had been made to ascertain
whether such type of intervention measure can be accepted, financed and
sustained by the communities with poor socio-economic status and living in
malaria endemic areas.
4. Transfer of technology :
The bioenvironmental approach and use of insecticide treated mosquito nets for
malaria control have received wide acclaim and some of the components of these
strategies have been integrated in the national programme for control of vector
5. Mosquito breeding in Riceland agroecosystem with reference to malaria :
A two year study was conducted during 1992-94 on mosquito breeding in different
rice agro-ecosystems. The study had shown that main rice fields contribute to
malaria vectors poorly and that too either in the beginning of the crop or in
the fallow fields. The associated habitats such as streams, rice field pools and
channels/canals were the real contributors to the vectors of malaria.
Appropriate vector control strategy was developed based on these findings.
6. Field trials on biolarvicides :
Field trials were conducted on two biolarvicides viz., B. sphaericus and
B. thuringiensis israelensis H-14 in urban area of Rourkela town to assess their
efficacy in bringing down density of nuisance mosquitoes.
7. Bio-ecology of malaria vectors in Orissa :
Over the years, Orissa has witnessed vast changes as a result of
industrilization, urban development, deforestation and irrigation. Considering
all these factors, studies on the bio-ecology of malaria vectors in different
topographical areas of Orissa viz., hill, plain and coastal areas were
completed. The adult behaviour of two vector species viz., An. culicifacies
An. fluviatilis varied in all the three ecotypes and correspondingly malaria was
more prevalent in hill area followed by plain and coastal area.
8. Malaria transmission dynamics :
The study was initiated as a part of a collaborative project with Ispat General
Hospital, Rourkela and International Centre for Genetic Engineering &
Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi. The studies were conducted in a small tribal
village under Birkera PHC of Sundargarh district which was characterized by high
falciparum malaria prevalence and asymptomatic carriers. Cross-sectional and
longitudinal epidemiological studies were carried out to collect data on
malariological parameters. In addition, molecular epidemiological studies on the
parasite diversity and immune response in the endemic population were carried
9. Development of site for vaccine trial :
A collaborative project of MRC and ICGEB which is being funded by the Department
of Biotechnology has been initiated in Sundargarh district to prepare suitable
field trial site for efficacy trials of malaria vaccines.
10. Malaria prevalence among pregnant women and children :
A collaborative operational research study to assess malaria prevalence among
children of 12-24 month age group and pregnant women was undertaken by MRC/CARE
- Orissa in 36 anganwadi villages of Harichandanpur block in Keonjhar district.
The study was a part of anaemia control project with the objective to control
the incidence of malaria which in conjuction with iron supplementation can
control the prevalence of anaemia.
11. Field testing of malaria diagnostic kits :
The field station has carried out field efficacy trials on ICT test kit
developed by an Australian biotechnology company and also on quantitative buffy
coat (QBC) technique for their sensitivity, specificity and efficiency in
comparison with routine microscopic examinations.
12. Socio-economic aspect of tribal malaria :
Study on the socio-economic factors and human behaviour in a cross-section of
tribal communities in Sundargarh district, Orissa revealed that poor
socio-economic status and socio-cultural factors play important role in
maintaining high degree of malaria transmission. Human behaviour such as
location of hamlets, type of housing, sleeping habits, outdoor activities after
dusk, poor knowledge about the disease and treatment seeking behaviour are of
great significance as determinants of malaria transmission. All these factors
need to be considered before planning community health programme. Estimation of
economic loss due to malaria showed an average loss of 8.96 mandays per malaria
patient with an average loss of 3.84 mandays to other family members. Mean total
loss per malaria episode comes to Rs.334.91. The study showed that malaria is
one of the major disease affecting the tribals to the greatest extent and
putting a lot of burden on the economic upliftment of these communities.
13. Malaria Clinic :
Malaria clinic of the field station provide referral services to medical
practitioners for diagnosis and treatment of malaria. On an average about 10,000
people report at the malaria clinic every year for free malaria check-up and
14. Health education and training programme :
Health education activities involving health camps and malaria exhibitions and
lectures on malaria and control strategies are being regularly organized in
schools/colleges, public places and hospitals.
LIST OF ONGOING PROJECTS
1. Malaria transmission dynamics and field studies on
P. falciparum :
(A collaborative project of MRC, ICGEB and IGH, Rourkela)
a) Date of Initiation : January, 1999
b) Expected date of completion : December,2003
c) Source of funding : Intra-mural (All three institutes)
2. Vector bionomics in different ecotypes of Sundargarh
a) Date of initiation : April, 1998
b) Expected date of completion : March,2003
c) Source of funding : Intra-mural
3. Development of field site for malaria vaccine trials :
(A collaborative project of MRC and ICGEB)
a) Date of initiation : June, 2000
b) Expected date of completion : March, 2007
c) Source of funding : Deptt. of Biotechnology.
4. Comparative evaluation of bio-efficacy and persistence of mosquito nets
treated with deltamethrin tablet formulation against malaria vectors An.
fluviatilis and An. culicifacies and its impact on malaria transmission in
malaria endemic tribal area of Sundargarh district.
a) Date of initiation : July,2002.
b) Expected date of completion : December, 2003
c) Source of funding : Sponsored by Aventis CropScience India Ltd.
5. Genetic diversity of P. falciparum and P. vivax in India : Development of
a) Date of initiation : April, 2002
b) Expected date of completion : March, 2005
c) Source of funding : ICMR
6. Assessment of therapeutic efficacy of chloroquine and sulfapyrimethamine in uncomplicated
P. falciparum malaria in India
a) Date of initiation : April,2002
b) Date of completion : March,2004
c) Source of funding : WHO under Roll Back Malaria Initiative.
Besides above projects, the scientists at the field station are also involved in
regular activities such as transfer of technology, epidemic investigations, IEC
& training programmes etc.
For further information, please contact:
Research Centre Field Station