India / Philippines to follow 'Dharavi model' to fight COVID-19

Hindustan Times : Aug 19, 2020, 10:06 AM
Mumbai: The Philippines government has reached out to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to implement the Dharavi model of containing the outbreak of Covid-19 in its densely populated slums.

BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Tuesday, “The Philippines government will be following the Dharavi model for containing Covid-19 in densely populated slums of Philippines.” BMC has shared the details of the Dharavi model with the Philippine government’s health department, he said.

Chahal also shared a news report from Philippine Daily Inquirer . The news report reads, “The DOH declared that it would follow the successful Dharavi-Mumbai campaign conceptualised by Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar. Dharavi in India is Asia’s largest slum where the Hollywood movie “Slumdog Millionaire” was shot. It has a total population of 1 million within a 2.5-square-kilometer area. This means eight to 10 people in a 9-square-meter area.”

Dharavi has seen cases in single digits for the past few days, and its curve flattened by the end of June. On Monday, Dharavi recorded four new cases, on Saturday and Sunday it had recorded five new cases each, on Friday, it had recorded nine new cases, and on Thursday, it had recorded six new cases.

This is in contrast with the number of cases that were being reported in a single day in May, when cases in Dharavi peaked. On May 3, it recorded its single-day highest number of cases at 94.

While the total number of Covid-19 cases in Dharavi touched 2,672, it has 80 active cases currently. The doubling rate in Dharavi is 269 days, and growth rate is 0.27%, in contrast with May when the growth rate was at its peak at 4.8%.

The Dharavi model of containing the spread of Covid-19 includes testing in high numbers, moving positive patients to institutional quarantine facilities, shifting high and low risk contacts to separate quarantine facilities, and treating patients in time. BMC organised fever camps, door-to-door surveys, used private clinics and dispensaries to reach maximum number of people and detect Covid-19 early, according to Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of the G North administrative ward, with jurisdiction over Dharavi.

Dighavkar said, “We are giving the Philippines government information on how we conducted fever camps in Dharavi, and carried out contact tracing, and organised institutional quarantining.” Over the past few weeks, Dighavkar has been flooded with calls from municipal corporations in cities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolhapur, for similar information.

Chahal said, “BMC’s Chase the Virus Policy has shown the world the way to fight Covid-19, but BMC is not complacent. We will not lower our guard.” He pointed out that doubling rate in Mumbai is now 86 days, with a low infection rate of 0.8%, and a discharge rate of 81%. Mumbai has done 6.6 lakh tests. He said, “There are 17,800 active cases in Mumbai, and symptomatic patients in hospitals are 5,388 and 7,548+ Covid beds are vacant.”