INDIAN NEWS & TIMES

Friday, October 7, 2022

P1010562 (1)TB incidences are on the rise. And deaths due to cholera have almost tripled from previous year.” Data collected from MCGM dispensaries / hospitals State Hospitals & other government dispensaries & hospitals show that in 2012-13 dengue cases touched 4867 from a low of 682 in 2008-09 ! Worse, last yr, 36,417 cases of tuberculosis  were reported from municipal and government dispensaries and hospitals, of which 6,921 patients died of TB

Releasing its latest report on the state of health of Mumbai (2012-13), Praja Foundation has raised red flag over incidences of dengue, Tuberculosis and Cholera for the city of Mumbai. Said Nitai Mehta, Founder Trustee of Praja Foundation, “BMC needs to be complimented on reducing the increase in malaria cases drastically from the peak of 2010-11 (over 78,000) to less than 22,000 malaria cases reported in 2012-13. But there is little reason for complacency. Cases of dengue have shot up drastically

Cholera incidences have once again started increasing in the city. Nine deaths were due to cholera in 2012-13 against 3 the previous years in Mumbai. Added Milind Mhaske, Project Director at Praja Foundation, “From another perspective, if we had to depend on this data for the entire city, in 2012-13, one out of 567 people in Mumbai suffered from malaria, one out of 2,555 people had dengue (last year one out of 6617 had dengue), one in 341 people had TB and cholera hit one in 63,000 Mumbaikars

The ratio has been on an increase since last year for all major diseases.” Praja’s report brings out a few very interesting data. Among all the municipal wards, Andheri (east) leads in diseases. The ward (K/E) has shown highest incidences of malaria, dengue and TB. Kurla (west), L ward of the MCGM has the highest incidence of diarrhoea, almost double its nearest rival. “Clearly supply of potable water in this ward requires urgent attention. Andheri (East) reported over 6,600 cases of diarrhoea while diarrhoea cases in Kurla west was close to 12,000

Nitai Mehta further brought attention to the fact that all the data gathered by Praja were based on information gathered through RTI from municipal dispensaries, hospitals, state government dispensaries, hospitals and other government healthcare centres. “Each year we organise an independent survey of over 20,000 citizens conducted by Hansa Research. Our survey shows that over 70% of Mumbai’s population visit private healthcare centres for treatment of their ailments

Only 35% of the city’s population visit municipal and government dispensaries and hospitals. And yet our city has no way of tracking any data from the privately-owned healthcare custodians. How can civic authorities frame any healthcare policy for our megapolis when it does not have access to healthcare data from the private doctors, clinics and hospitals visited by distinct majority of our city population!” Mehta asked does not have access to healthcare data from the private doctors, clinics and hospitals visited by distinct majority of our city population!” Mehta asked. Reasons for lack of data from the private sector range from fear of income tax scrutiny to increase in paperwork to sheer apathy

Last year, after releasing the state of health of Mumbai, Praja had organised a Roundtable Discussion on Strengthening Health MIS of Mumbai. The Round Table had several relevant MCGM authorities and people from various organizations involved in the public health sector, chaired by Mr. D. M. Sukhtankar, Ex. Municipal commissioner, Mumbai and Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra. The Round Table discussion strongly recommended legislative acts and punitive action for access to crucial public health information from non-government healthcare sector. Mr. Sukhtankar had said then, “It is crucial for the government to devise the means – through a carrot and stick policy, if need be – to collect data from the non-government healthcare sources in as simple a format as possible.”

Indeed, incidences of dengue, TB and cholera are on the rise, according to cases reported in municipal and government healthcare centres. “Add to this, the missing cases from the private healthcare practitioners; Mumbai’s prognosis appears frightening,” warns Nitai Mehta. “In fact, it is being noticed that dengue and TB are prevalent as much, if not more, in higher income groups who perhaps never visit municipal or government dispensaries or hospitals,” adds Mhaske. Concludes Mehta, “Praja’s latest Report on the state of health of Mumbai raises pertinent questions of grave consequences for the city that our policy makers ought to consider seriously and expeditiously.”