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BMC refutes NGO claims,says malaria and dengue cases down

The BMC on Thursday said media reports claiming a sharp rise in the incidence of sensitive diseases may have caused alarm.

Written by Express News Service | Published: July 27, 2012 2:10 am

The BMC on Thursday said media reports claiming a sharp rise in the incidence of sensitive diseases may have caused alarm. For instance,malaria cases in the city have dropped drastically,it said,adding that the number of dengue and typhoid cases too are in sharp variance with claims made by Praja Foundation,a voluntary organisation that focuses on urban and civic issues.

Executive Health Officer Dr Arun Bamne said,“I had a brief meeting with Praja Foundation and the department will analyse the figures. The quality of their sample base needs to be verified as its size of 15,000 households hardly represents Mumbai’s population. We cannot compare a non-slum area with a slum area – there are bound to be contradictions.” Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar told reporters on Thursday that from January-July 2012,there has been a 77 per cent decline in the number of malaria cases compared with the corresponding period in 2011. “I felt it is necessary to clarify our health department’s findings,” she said.

Praja Foundation had released a white paper report which revealed that nine sensitive diseases including malaria,dengue and typhoid have almost doubled in the past four years. The report is based on a survey of 15,000 households across various wards in the city. Focusing on the malaria records of seven “critical wards” that saw the highest figures for the ailment a in 2010,Mhaiskar said this is the first year BMC’s Public Health Department has recorded a Slide Positivity Rate (SPR) of less than one in July. This rate is arrived at from the number of blood sample slides collected that test positive out of a base sample of 100. The seven wards,which include Parel,Elphinstone,Dadar,Byculla,Kurla,Andheri (east),and Ghatkopar,recorded an SPR of 0.9 for July 2012 as against an SPR of 11.8 in 2010. Praja Foundation in its survey included the Sandhurst Road,Bandra (west),Goregaon and Kandivali wards for high incidences of malaria cases.

Nitai Mehta,founder trustee of Praja Foundation,claims that nearly 75 per cent of Mumbaikars avoid going to municipal health centres or state hospitals. However,Dr Mangala Gomare,Deputy Executive Health Officer of Epidemiology,said the public health department uses its 400-plus surveillance staff to perform a door-to-door survey of the city’s 24 wards. “Each staffer visits 250 houses at minimum – with priority to slum areas – to assess the health of all family members. If they find anyone keeping ill health,they immediately take their blood sample,” said Dr. Gomare.

Mhaiskar said to control vector-breeding,the BMC has identified around 3,000 construction sites and sent notifications to the builders to undertake vector-control activity in these areas. On July 24,Newsline had reported that the number of swine flu cases has swelled to 100 in this month alone. As the number climbs to 110,the Additional Municipal Commissioner has reiterated that an awareness programme,much like the BMC’s “Fight the Bite” anti-Malaria campaign will begin from Monday,July 31. Till date,172 cases of swine flu have been recorded this year with Bandra (west),Mulund,Powai and Andheri (east) showing the highest figures.

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