14 July 2010
Of the six wards worst hit by malaria, four fall in central Mumbai. BMC points fingers at builders
Of the six wards identified by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as the worst hit by malaria, four are in central Mumbai.
The numbers are worrying the city has already logged 8,549 cases of malaria. Over 1,600 cases have been registered in the month of June alone. And these are official figures.
The situation is so serious that the government's head of Swine Flu Control Programme, Dr Pradeep Awte, is now more worried about malaria.
In a review meeting on Monday, Public Health Minister Suresh Shetty revealed that out of every 100 patients of malaria in the state, 47 are from Mumbai. "We have instructed the BMC to chalk out a new plan to fight the disease.
The state government has discussed the issue with municipal corporation and the additional chief secretary of health," Shetty said.
The four wards hit worst G South, G North, E Ward and F South cover almost the entire central Mumbai, including Prabhadevi, Worli, Parel, Dadar, Byculla and Tardeo.
All these neighbourhoods are dotted with under-construction building mostly on land vacated by mills. These construction sites, according to senior BMC officials, are responsible for the rapid breeding of mosquitoes.
Prabhadevi alone has reported 932 cases of malaria in the past fortnight or so.
Mirror reporters carried out a quick survey of just two buildings - Satya Vijay and Satya Shodhak in Prabhadevi on Tuesday. They came across 70 residents suffering from malaria.
Due to this, accumulated rain water at these sites has become breeding ground for mosquitoes," he said.
Dr Ambe said the BMC has now taken over the job of fumigating these site from the builders. “Of course, the builders will be fined for not doing what they had promised. However, right now our priority is to check the spread of malaria," he added.
Why the malaria surge?
- Increase in construction sites and migration of labourers from malaria-prone areas
- Defunct mills
- Public and Govt agencies such as Railways, MbPT, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Airport Authority of India hold large plots that are prone to water accumulation
- Urbanisation/changes in lifestyle of people.
- Intermittent rains
Sayali Gulekar, 15, who was discharged from Bhabha Hospital, Bandra, a couple of hours before we meet at her house in Prabhadevi was still feeling weak. "I have not attended school for two weeks. I am weak, I don’t think I will be able to go to school even next week."
Kshitij Pilankar, a senior KG student of Shardashram is down with malaria since Thursday. His father said, "He is running high temperature and has lost his appetite. He has not been able to go to school."
Sagar Narvekar, 28, an IDBI Bank employee has been at home since three days. He is already taking medicines for malaria even as he is waiting for his blood test reports. "Temperature with shivers suggests malaria, but my doctor wanted to ensure his treatment is on right track. I am feeling very weak."