The steps taken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to contain the spread of coronavirus disease in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum sprawl, has earned the praise of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
During a media briefing Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “In Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, South Korea and even Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, strong focus on community engagement and basic of testing, tracing, isolation and treating the sick is key to breaking chains of transmission and suppressing the virus.”
Dharavi, which has a population density of 2.27 lakh per sq km, reported 11 fresh cases Saturday taking its total count to 2,370. The number of active cases in the slum sprawl, however, is just 166. A total of 401 people have succumbed to the virus in Dharavi so far.
According to civic officials, testing, tracing and putting suspected and high-risk contacts in quarantine facilities were some of the measures that had helped to contain the spread of the virus. The civic body also took the help of private medical practitioners to trace suspected cases. While Dharavi had an 18-day doubling rate in April, it gradually improved to 64 days in July, officials said.
On Saturday, Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal said WHO has now praised the efforts of BMC in Dharavi and this is a “unique” case across the world.
Calling it a team effort, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G-North ward (Dadar, Dharavi), Kiran Dighavkar, said, “Proactive screening and timely isolation (of patients and suspected cases) helped us to contain the virus.” Dighavkar said the fever camps and screening in Dharavi will continue.
Meanwhile, state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the ‘Dharavi model’ will now be replicated in Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation area. “Dharavi model of curbing Covid-19 cases will be replicated the in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR),” Thackeray said Saturday.