15 TB patients died daily across Mumbai in 2015

Jul 08, 2016, 09:29 IST | A Correspondent

Survey conducted by Praja Foundation also claims that 33,000 people have succumbed to the disease in five years; BMC figures for the same period stand at 6,383

If the latest survey conducted by NGO Praja Foundation is the yardstick to measure the BMC’s war against tuberculosis (TB), then the civic body has failed miserably.

File pic for representation

As per the findings of the survey, about 33,000 patients have succumbed to TB from 2011-2015. However, the BMC’s figures for the same period stand at 6,383.

The NGO has accused the civic body of keeping the actual figures under the wraps.

The survey also revealed that last year, TB claimed 5,680 lives in comparison with 6,589 lives in 2014. This means that on an average, 15 TB patients died every day in 2015. However, the BMC’s reply to an RTI query puts the TB death toll at 1,459 for 2015 and 1,351 in 2014.

Nitai Mehta, managing trustee for Praja Foundation, told mid-day, “This discrepancy exposes the BMC’s casual approach towards such a grave issue. The method implemented by the BMC to collect data in such cases is fraught with errors.”

Besides highlighting deaths caused by TB, the NGO also played up the data for dengue-related deaths. The report states that 15,244 people succumbed to dengue in 2015, which is eight times higher in comparison with the total for the last five years.

Commenting on the issue, Sudhir Naik, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “I’m yet to receive the report. I will be able to comment only after discussing it with our health officers.”

Docs speak

Dr Jagdish Keni, superintendent, Sewri TB Hospital
The number of TB deaths has dwindled in the last few years. For me to comment on the report, I need to study it first.

Dr Daksha Shah, head of BMC’s TB programme
On several occasions, the cause of death mentioned in a death certificate is wrongly entered. Just because a patient shows symptoms of TB doesn’t mean he has succumbed to the disease. There will always be such discrepancies.

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