The heavy showers of the past few days, which crippled life in Mumbai, threaten to trigger off a rise in monsoon maladies including malaria, dengue and leptospirosis
Ashok Kumar | Clarion India
MUMBAI – While the entire healthcare infrastructure is geared to battle Covid-19 in Mumbai, there are fears that perennial ailments that crop up during the monsoons including malaria, leptospirosis and dengue will take a heavy toll, especially of the poor in slum colonies.
Already, there has been a spurt in the number of malaria with nearly 1,500 cases having emerged over the past three months. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), July saw nearly 900 patients suffering from malaria.
Worse, there are a growing number of cases of patients battling Covid-19 and other monsoon diseases including malaria, dengue and leptospirosis. The four-month monsoon season (June to September) sees thousands of patients ending up at hospitals with diseases including malaria, dengue, leptospirosis and encephalitis.
“The entire focus appears to be on tackling Covid-19,” Salma Memon, founder, UMEED Foundation, told Clarion India on Sunday. “In Malvani, for instance, most of the gutters are overflowing and people are exposed to all kinds of monsoon diseases.”
The Foundation, which has been involved in tackling the Covid-19 crisis over the past few months in the sprawling slum colony, is now also focusing on raising awareness about monsoon-related diseases.
Officials of the BMC claim that in many slums people have locked up their homes and left for their hometowns, making it difficult for their teams to clear breeding places of mosquitoes.
Mumbai has been witnessing heavy rains over the past few days. The first week of August itself has seen nearly 700mm of rainfall in south Mumbai, as against an average of less than 500mm in the past.
Scores of localities across the city and the suburbs have been waterlogged, leading to growing fears about thousands likely to get infected with monsoon diseases.
Citizens are also worried that when they visit hospitals, the first thing they have to undergo is Covid tests, and other ailments are largely ignored by the doctors and other medical staff.
Another major disease in Mumbai and Maharashtra is tuberculosis. In 2018, there were nearly 2.1 lakh TB cases and about 6,500 patients died. Mumbai had about 5,000 drug-resistant TB patients, the highest in India.