RTI reveals TB accounted for 8.1% of 87,027 deaths in city in 2013-14

BMC contests NGO Praja’s report, says only 1,393 deaths due to TB last year.

| Mumbai | Published: July 16, 2014 2:00:34 am

In 2013-14, tuberculosis (TB) accounted for 8.1 per cent of the 87,027 deaths reported in the city — a glaring health concern highlighted by a report released by NGO Praja on Tuesday. While TB deaths stood at 7,075, there were 255 diarrhoea deaths, followed by 195 malaria and 108 dengue deaths in 2013-2014.

The report is based on death certificates collected from the civic body through the Right to Information applications, said Praja officials. There are, however, significant discrepancies in the data accumulated by Praja and figures provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The BMC reported only 1,393 deaths due to TB and 30 deaths due to malaria in 2013.

Dr Minnie Khetarpal, TB control officer at BMC, said, “The death figures in our records are based on Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). On several occasions, even para-medics issue death certificates without filling the form properly. This leads to inaccurate data. I feel the difference in Praja and BMC figures is due to that.”

Nitai Mehta, managing trustee of Praja, said under-reported cases of TB can affect the planning and control mechanism of the disease. “Cases of malaria have been reducing every year, but Mumbai might now become the metropolitan city with the highest TB deaths in the world,” Mehta said.

As per the data released by Praja, there were 10 deaths due to typhoid and seven due to cholera in 2013-14. HIV-AIDS accounted for 439 deaths and hypertension was responsible for 4,525 deaths in the city.

According to Praja’s data, for the past six years, K-East ward, comprising Andheri (east) and parts of Jogeshwari and Vile Parle, had the highest cumulative count of diseases among all 24 wards in the city. In 2013-14, 10,167 cases of malaria, dengue, tuberculosis, diabetes and diarrhoea were reported from the ward.

“Since 2008, K East ward has constantly reported a high number of malaria, tuberculosis, diabetes and diarrheoa cases, with the ward also slowly becoming a den for dengue (16 cases reported in 2012-2013 and 29 cases in 2013-2014),” Praja report stated.

A BMC official said the biggest challenge in the ward were the enormous slums where health and hygiene conditions were poor. There are over eight slum pockets in the ward with Mograpada and Bandrekar Wadi being two major slums. “The slum dwellers do not co-operate with fogging exercises and on several occasions they have turned a deaf ear towards the instructions given by health workers,” a former medical officer from the ward said.

Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer at BMC, said, “K-East ward is huge. So, the cases reported from there will be higher than A, B and C wards, which are much smaller.” The ward covers 23.5 sq kms.

Four wards in the city – K East (Andheri East), L (Kurla), G South (Elphinstone) and E (Byculla and Chinchpokli) – have been notified as high risk areas since 2010, where presence of slums, massive construction activities and demographic conditions have led to high ailments count.

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