COVID-19: BMC to start door-to-door screening in Malad buildings

Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 06:50 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Officials say that in the critical ward, cases are coming down in slums, and spiking in high-rises; rope in NGO to help with screening

BMC health workers head for door-to-door screening at Appa Pada, Malad, on Friday. Pics/Satej Shinde
BMC health workers head for door-to-door screening at Appa Pada, Malad, on Friday. Pics/Satej Shinde

As COVID-19 spreads to residential buildings from slum pockets in P North ward (Malad), the BMC prepares to tackle the contagion with door-to-door screening. Starting today, the ward officials, with the help of an NGO, will screen the residents for symptoms of the novel Coronavirus.

The BMC took the decision to conduct door-to-door testing after infections surged in the residential areas of P North ward, which has so far reported around 4,000 cases.

Due to shortage of manpower, the ward officials have tied up with Niramaya Health Foundation for the task.

Ten teams of volunteers will begin the screening for COVID-19 on Saturday, and the BMC aims to cover 30-40 residential buildings during the drive.

Among the administrative wards, P North ward has registered the fourth highest number of cases, with close to 2,500 patients undergoing treatment at present.

It has a daily average growth rate of 2.8 per cent. The civic officials said that earlier, the majority of the cases in the ward were emerging from the slum pockets, but now the residential buildings are reporting more infections.

Sanjog Kabare, the assistant municipal commissioner of P North ward, said they will first target buildings that have reported positive cases.

"The number of cases in the slums are coming down, while it is increasing in the residential buildings. Since the screening process was effective in the slum pockets, we have decided to carry it out in residential buildings as well to control the spread of the infection," he added.

Kabare said they tied up with the NGO for manpower and most of the ward's civic officials are engaged in the fever camps set up at the slums.

Close to 2,500 COVID-19 patients in P North ward are undergoing treatment at present. PIC/SATEJ SHINDE
Close to 2,500 COVID-19 patients in P North ward are undergoing treatment at present

"Officials from the assessment department will lead the team of volunteers from the NGO and will visit the buildings. They will inform the secretary of the respective buildings/societies and set up a camp on the premises. But if the residents don't cooperate, the volunteers will go door-to-door."

Since the first week of June, fresh cases have emerged in SRA buildings in Appa Pada, Malad East, and residential buildings in Pushpa Park.

Vikas Deshmukh, project coordinator with Niramaya Health Foundation, said the volunteers have earlier helped out at screening camps in the slum areas, but this will be their first time in residential complexes.

"Around 10 teams comprising 40 volunteers will be screening the residents. The teams include third and fourth year medical students, and other volunteers who work five-hour shifts in PPE kits," Deshmukh said. The screening will cover at least 4,000 people in the ward, including S V Road, Link Road and Kapil Vastu Nagar, he said.

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