Mumbai: WHO hails Dharavi’s model in successfully containing COVID-19 transmission
In an unprecedented development, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the efforts of Mumbai authorities in containing the COVID-19 outbreak in Dharavi – Asia’s largest slum. Speaking at a virtual press conference in Geneva on Saturday, the WHO chief lauded the efforts of the authorities in ensuring the basics of testing, tracing, isolating, and treating the infected patients in Dharavi.
“There are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control. And some of these examples are Italy, Spain, and South Korea, and even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai, a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains oftransmission and suppressing the virus,” Dr. Tedros said in his remarks.
With a population density of 2.27 lakh per sqkm, early Coronavirus outbreak in the region gave sleepless nights to the city authorities as a large number of people tested positive for the virus. However, various precautionary and preventive programs launched by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) helped bring back Dharavi from the health crisis.
While Mumbai is still battling with the pandemic outbreak, exceptional efforts of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) worked effectively in containing the COVID-19 cases in the largest slum in the country.
As of now, Mumbai’s Dharavi area has reported a total of over 2300 infected cases since its first outbreak in April. Significantly, it has managed to flatten the COVID-19 curve by the end of June with a prominent decline in daily new cases in July.
Early efforts, mammoth screening, and effective isolation measures have helped the BMC to turn the tables in Dharavi. Since April, more than 7 lakh people have been screened by the authorities with immediately shifting the symptomatic individuals in isolation in set-up clinics and sports clubs/schools.
Interestingly, the central government and the Union Health Ministry have also praised the BMC model of tracing, tracking, testing, and treating the COVID-19 cases that worked wonders in chasing the novel coronavirus in Dharavi. In a recent statement, Centre said that the proactive measures by the Mumbai civic body reduced the growth rate of Coronavirus infection in Dharavi 1.02 per cent in June from 12 per cent in April.
In the statement, the Health Ministry also noted that in spite of limited possibilities of physical distancing in the densely-population region, the BMC adopted an proactive approach in screening thousands of people and timely separating infected people to effectively limit the transmission of the disease.