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Mapping patients: Pune Smart City agency pulls info off social media after corporators raise doubts

The PSCDCL initiative – it had prepared a dashboard that reflected various areas and number of Covid-19 patients there – was meant to help the PMC in preparing a strategy for effective implementation of its containment plan.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune | Published: May 12, 2020 2:00:31 pm
Mapping patients: Smart City agency pulls info off social media after corporators raise doubts Members of Garud Ganesh mandal donate food to the needy. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Ltd (PSCDCL) has stopped posting information gathered from mapping city areas with a large concentration of Covid-19 patients after corporators of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) raised questions about the veracity of the information.

“Mapping of such areas in the city was being done on the basis of inputs provided by the PMC. But the maps are not being made public now due to objections raised by its corporators,” said an official of the PSCDCL.

The PSCDCL initiative – it had prepared a dashboard that reflected various areas and number of Covid-19 patients there – was meant to help the PMC in preparing a strategy for effective implementation of its containment plan. The effort had even drawn praise from a team of the central government which had reviewed measures taken by the city authorities to fight the pandemic.

But objections were raised when the agency started posting information related to the mapping on social media. The information was also shared by the PMC administration and Mayor Murlidhar Mohol.

This prompted some corporators to raise objections as, according to them, while their areas were shown as those with high prevalence of Covid-19 cases, it was not accurate. “The corporators have complained that the mapping is incorrect and it’s triggering panic in these areas,” said the official. As a result, PSCDCL has stopped posting the information since May 6.

“Mapping is still being done and the dashboard is being used, but the information is only for internal references… it’s not being published,” said the official.

Meanwhile, the information technology department of the PMC has urged the civic health department to use the ‘Covid-19 Hospital’ system built by it to compile information pertaining to the pandemic from various centres.

The PMC collects data on Covid-19 patients from government, civic and private hospitals in the city on a daily basis.

The information is sent to higher authorities in the state and Union government. The IT department maps the patients as per their residential addresses, puts it up on a dashboard and publishes the information on social media.

The information is also shared with the city police to help it make important decisions pertaining to sealing off zones and implementing lockdown norms.

“The new system has been developed for registration of accurate and timely information about patients in various hospitals, Covid care centres and quarantine centres. It is important that the staff at all these facilities use it properly,” said Rahul Jagtap, in-charge of the civic Information Technology department.

But another civic officer admitted that the data was not always 100 per cent accurate. “There are many mistakes in the data… this poses problems for proper mapping and other related work. The mistakes include entering wrong addresses of patients, case numbers, duplication of names, incomplete information about deaths and recovered patients, among others…,” said the officer.

Only a few hospitals have started using the system, and at recently-modified hospitals and quarantine centres, the information is not always collected accurately, said the officer.

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