COVID-19: After Dharavi, now it's door-to-door screening in Govandi and Kurla
Municipal corporation is using local volunteers to identify all the contacts of positive patients and moving them to quarantine facilities across the city
With Mumbai recording more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases daily, the BMC has now stepped up efforts to trace close contacts of patients. At least 10 people are being identified per patient and shifted to quarantine facilities. Just the way it is being done in Dharavi, the BMC has started door-to-door screening in Govandi and Kurla. They are also taking the help of local volunteers to overcome some on-field challenges.
Currently, L ward has more than 1,627 cases and M East has over 1,302 cases. While the screening process started in L ward two weeks ago, in M East, the door-to-door check-ups started three days ago. Prajakta Lavangare, IAS officer in charge of Zone VII that covers M East, M West and L wards, said, "We are already doing fever camps in the area and community workers are identifying the symptomatic patients. But we want to track the COVID-19 suspects early. We decided to take up house-to-house survey in containment zones in a thorough manner within a time limit of two to three days. We hope that we will be able to isolate them early and wean them away from the community to break the chain of infection."
A team of BMC health workers are identifying people with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are suffering from other ailments
Lavangare further said that to streamline the process of testing, a team of health workers were identifying people with symptoms and those who are suffering from other ailments. As part of the screening process, the team visits the slum pockets and checks the temperature as well as oxygen levels of residents.
Apart from BMC officials and a doctor, the team also includes local volunteers selected by the ward office. However, people living in slum areas are apprehensive about being tested and it is a challenge for health workers to convince them to shift to a quarantine facility. Dr Khalid Shaikh, owner of Sai Hospital, who helped with the screening process in Dharavi, and is now helping in M East area as well, said that there was still a lot of stigma linked to COVID-19 patients.
"When BMC officials visit a patient's family members and relatives, they are not willing to give details. They are reluctant to get tested because they feel they won't get food if they move to a quarantine centre. The local volunteers help them feel comfortable and then they cooperate with the health workers," he said.
"Earlier, the ratio of a patient and high-risk contacts was 1:5, but now we are trying to increase that to 1:10. We can then shift the high-risk contacts to quarantine facilities to avoid further spread of the infection," added Lavangare. She said that the local volunteers had been roped in as COVID Yoddhas to help with contact tracing.
Apart from helpers who carry the COVID-19 bodies from the ward to the mortuary, the civic chief recently passed an order saying that R500 a day should also be paid to each COVID Yoddha.
While areas like Baiganwadi and Lallubhai Compound have a high number of cases, in L ward, slum areas like Sandesh Nagar, Ashok Nagar and Kaju Pada are worse affected.
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