My Family, My Responsibility: How we turned a key survey into a sham

Updated: 10 October, 2020 08:01 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

BMC officials say upper middle-class buildings scuttled efforts to conduct door-to-door survey, with many not allowing entry to volunteers, some even filling forms themselves without tests

Health workers with Dadar residents during a survey
Health workers with Dadar residents during a survey

The Maharashtra government's campaign My Family, My Responsibility was intended to be a door-to-door survey but many residential societies across the city have been unwilling to allow health workers on their premises. With the drive's first phase set to conclude on Saturday, details about vitals and medical history of many residents have been added to the data without verification as many residents chose to fill the forms themselves, with no tests conducted.

In parts of Malad, health workers were not allowed to enter buildings. Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sanjog Kabare said that residents of Manori village are particularly resistant of the civic body's efforts. "People don't want to give their details and some are scared they will get infected by health workers conducting the survey. They want to maintain their distance. But this data will help monitor those with co-morbidities and will help the civic body plan the resources properly," he said.

esidents of Peter Dias Road, Bandra, filled out forms and got their vitals checked by health workersResidents of Peter Dias Road, Bandra, filled out forms and got their vitals checked by health workers

Kabare added that they have tried to come up with alternative strategies to convince societies, particularly high rise buildings, to cooperate. "Officials from assessment and building factory departments usually have a better rapport with committee members of societies. We have roped them in to convince the 20-30 societies that are not allowing health workers to carry out the survey," he said.

Similarly, in K West ward that has over 2,000 active cases, civic officials are trying to reason with the committee members. Assistant Commissioner Vishwas Mote said, "There are no issues in slums. In towers, however, some of the residents are reluctant to give their information and are not ready to get their oxygen levels tested. The health teams try to convince them through the secretary and chairman and at times these residents agree to come down and give the information."

A health worker during a door-to-door survey in Damu Nagar, Kandivli. FILE PICA health worker during a door-to-door survey in Damu Nagar, Kandivli. FILE PIC

Rumours on social media have contributed to the misinformation among societies.

Residents must participate

In areas like Bandra, Khar and Santacruz, civic officials who were denied entry had no choice but to ask the secretary to collect details like temperature, oxygen saturation, symptoms and medical history of residents. In many societies, however, residents are simply given a form and are asked to fill in the details themselves. Congress corporator Asif Zakaria said inaccurate information will not be helpful in the long run. "The data will be very important while planning the distribution of the vaccine and for allocating resources. This is a time of crisis and it is the responsibility of all ALM groups as well as residents to participate," he said.

Other options

Senior civic officials said that 80 per cent of the buildings have been covered in the survey. The data will be analysed over the next five to six days. Agreeing that societies need to allow health workers to carry out the survey, additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said that during the analysis, they will check many societies didn't allow entry to health workers.

Dadar residents during a My Family My Responsibility survey
Dadar residents during a My Family My Responsibility survey

"The health workers have been given oxymeters that they sanitise after every use and they take all possible precautions to avoid any contamination. Societies that didn't allow entry will be covered in the second phase. We will explore the option of doing to survey in the society office if they don't want workers inside the building. They could also let them do the survey via the intercom," Kakani said. The second phase of the campaign will begin on October 14.

Inputs by Prajakta Kasale

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First Published: 10 October, 2020 07:00 IST

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