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BMC picks holes in NGO Praja’s report on TB

A day after NGO Praja foundation published figures on number of tuberculosis (TB) cases reported in the city

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 31, 2013 1:26 am

A day after NGO Praja foundation published figures on number of tuberculosis (TB) cases reported in the city,BMC claimed the figures in the report were higher than the actual numbers.

According to Praja,there were 36,417 cases of TB with 6,921 deaths in 2012-13. BMC refuted these figures,quoting 30,828 cases and 1,389 deaths — a significant gap of 5,589 reported cases.

Praja told Newsline it had compiled the figures after clubbing RTI information with data obtained from death certificates.

“Last year,88,000 deaths occurred in the city. 20,000-25,000 death certificates were issued by private practitioners,who based on prima facie evidence may have wrongly stated an ailment as the cause of death. This could be the reason for the disparity,” said BMC’s additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.

Mhaiskar said she is planning to put a disclaimer on death certificates. “The disclaimer will state that the cause of death specified may not be accurate and is subject to error. This will be inserted to avoid wrong tabulation of data,” she said.

Praja foundation’s project director Milind Mhaske said,“The data we compiled is based on RTI data retrieved from BMC’s health department and death certificates we had obtained. We cannot say for sure the cause of death can be erroneous on certificates.”

Minni Khetarpal,a TB officer with BMC,says,“The figures of TB have never crossed 32,000. If Praja is stating that there were 36,417 cases in 2012-13,their figures are wrong.”

Another disparity surfaced in the way the data was tabulated. While Praja’s data was based on the financial year,BMC’s information is on the basis of the calendar year.

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