Even though there have been a sharp rise in cases of dengue in Mumbai but death due to this disease has dropped in the city. Due to geographical conditions of Mumbai and heavy rains often massive number of dengue cases are reported in the city. Another reason for rise in dengue cases is due to overflowing drains and unhygienic conditions in which slum dwellers live. It is easy to blame the government for rising dengue cases but the administration had worked overtime to detect dengue cases and preventive measures were undertaken. Health check up camps were organised in the city and awareness was created among Mumbaikars about dengue.
BMC had asked citizens to follow instructions like preventing the accumulation of water outside windows, disposal of waste from their residence, segregation of wet and dry waste and maintaining personal hygiene to avert the spread of the disease. Even citizens had lauded the initiative taken by civic body and health department to detect cases of dengue and offer treatment to affected persons. As per Praja Foundation 148 deaths have occurred in the city between April 2016 and March 2017. On the other hand, BMC has recorded five deaths in 2012 and 2016. Thus there is a huge difference between the data reported by BMC and Praja.
State Director for Vector Control, Dr Kanchan Jagtap said, “The deaths caused by dengue infection have come done in Maharashtra and Mumbai because of the implementation of ‘Dengue Detection Program’. The number of dengue cases might have increased but we were able to control and prevent deaths.”
When we spoke to Public Health minister, Deepak Sawant he refused to comment on this matter and said that he is travelling.
Sanjay Seth a Kandivali resident said, “It is easy to blame the government whenever there is a rise in cases of dengue but citizens too should take responsibility and maintain cleanliness inside their houses and surroundings. The BMC and health department can only instruct citizens about the precautions to be taken to prevent dengue and chikungunya but the onus lies on Mumbaikars to maintain personal hygiene.”
Even though there has been a 265% increase in dengue positive cases, there was ambiguity in the way the BMC collects information on the disease as the dispensaries continue to opt for rapid testing kits for diagnosis. Results from these kits are not always accurate, but they are cheap. Health experts said many of these cases could be dengue patients who had complications owing to heart disease and diabetes.