Many civic activists said the lack in combating the spread of diseases like viral fever, swine flu, dengue has led to its rise in Thane. Questions arise over the strategies of prevention and rehabilitation by the Thane Municipal corporation, Mumbai.
TMC officials expressed concern that the number of patients who have been screened in the last eight months for suspected H1N1 virus has more than doubled compared to the previous year. More than 50% of those screened were found to be carriers of the deadly virus and had to be put in isolation until their treatment.
Patients screened for H1N1 for the last eight months have doubled compared to previous year. More than 50% of the patients were found to be carriers of H1N1. TMC administration has failed in providing care at health care centers both primary and secondary.
"Many equipment at the TMC-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj hospital in Kalwa are lying idle with no trained operators. The situation at the Civil hospital is no different. The doctors often refer patients to other hospitals in the city or Mumbai citing lack of trained professionals," said Mohd. Ali Momin, a health activist from Thane.
Civic officials blame urban lifestyle and exposure to pollutants as reason behind the rise in diseases."We send reminders to residents about taking measures to avoid spread of diseases," said an official. Residents complained that the city also didn't have enough primary health units. In Thane, there are 25 primary health centers against the mandatory 36 units for a population of 18 lakh. "The health department has deployed staff to visit residents, especially those staying in slums to remain alert on patients reporting symptoms. We have also instructed private hospitals to instantly report positive cases to us. In addition, we have also sent reminders to residents of plush complexes to ensure the water in flower beds is cleared regularly," said Dr R T Kendre, public health officer at TMC.
"The TMC doesn't seem to be interested in taking enough responsibility for public health. Private doctors charge heavy fees, which is unaffordable for many people," said Milind Gaikwad, civic activist from NGO JAAG.