Dengue victims: Has the PMC got its data wrong?

Sep 09, 2011, 08:17 IST | Alifiya Khan

Civic body claims just one casualty in two years, but pvt hospitals say many more died

Civic body claims just one casualty in two years, but pvt hospitals say many more died

At a time when the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has gone all out to popularise its image as the zero-mosquito corporation by pumping in more than Rs 1 crore to tackle malaria and dengue and is claiming credit for not having any deaths reported due to the killer diseases, a random survey by MiD DAY has found that this is not true.

Is it working? The PMC has pumped in more than Rs 1 crore to
tackle malaria and dengue. Representation Pic

While PMC's insecticide officer claimed that there were no deaths due to malaria in PMC limits in the past two years and that just one person had succumbed to dengue, figures from three top city hospitals suggest otherwise.

Sadashiv Patole, PMC's insecticide officer, said the corporation had been lauded by state officials as well as several corporations, who were trying to emulate its model of vector control after its great success.

"Not just civic hospitals, but this data is from private hospitals too," Patole said even after MiD DAY called him thrice to confirm if the data included private hospitals.

But MiD DAY found that not only was there a mismatch in the figures from the PMC and those from private hospitals but also that the numbers were nowhere close. Data shared by Dr Prasad Muglikar, medical superintendent of Jehangir hospital, showed that while no patients succumbed to malaria in the past two years, there had been six dengue deaths at the hospital since January 2010.

"We don't know if these patients died after prolonged treatment or were referred here at the last minute. Our records show five dengue deaths in 2010 and one this year," he said. At Ruby Hall Clinic, medical director Dr Sujata Mallik also confirmed that there had been no malaria deaths in the past two years. "But yes, there have been deaths due to dengue, but not too many. A maximum of a couple of deaths in a year.

I can't remember the exact figures and it's too cumbersome to get the details, but surely there have been two deaths," she said. At KEM hospital as well, deputy medical superintendent Dr Shubhada Sharma said that she was sure that there had been 4-5 deaths due to dengue, though none fell prey to malaria. But she said she was not sure if all patients lived in PMC areas or were referred from rural areas. "Only patients living in PMC areas are counted by the civic corporation, other deaths are registered by the ZP," she said.

Asked how the figures mismatched and if the PMC was underplaying the dengue figures, Patole brushed it aside saying that all data was cross-verified. "We verify all data from BJ Medical College as well as private hospitals.

We check their addresses and only those deaths of resident of PMC areas are notified. Besides, private hospitals have a habit of misreporting, and this isn't an allegation but a fact. We don't consider death due to dengue unless the patients' report of dengue positivity comes through, while private hospitals also sometimes list suspected dengue patients death," he said.

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