Guwahati: Asia’s largest slum Dharavi, is now garnering attention as the Philippines government reached out to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to implement its model of containing the COVID-19 outbreak in its own densely populated slums.
On Tuesday, Iqbal Singh Chahal, commissioner of BMC, said that they have already shared the details of the Dharavi model with the health department of the Philippine. He even quoted a news report from a leading Philippine daily which stated that the health department of the Philippines will follow the successful Dharavi-Mumbai campaign which was conceptualised by Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar. Asia’s largest slum has a total population of 1 million within a 2.5-square-kilometre area. Hence, this alternatively means eight to 10 people in a 9-square-meter area.
The campaign consisted of 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. Additionally, according to Dighavkar BMC even organised fever camps, door-to-door surveys, used private clinics and dispensaries to reach a maximum number of people and detect the virus as early as possible.
Dighavkar also said that they are sharing the information of the successful conduction of fever camps, organised institutional quarantine, and contact tracing with the Philippine government. Now, the assistant municipal commissioner is getting hundreds of calls from Indian cities like Kolhapur, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad for similar information.
In May, Dharavi witnessed a high rise in COVID-19 cases in a single day, and on May 3 it recorded a single-day spike of 94 cases. This is in total contrast to the scenario now where single-digit positive cases are recorded. Four new cases were reported on Monday and on Sunday and Saturday it recorded four cases each. The doubling rate in Dharavi is 269 days, and the growth rate is 0.27%, in contrast with May when the growth rate was at its peak at 4.8%. Additionally, while the total number of COVID-19 patients in Dharavi touched 2,672, it has 80 active cases currently.
An elated Chahal in an interview with a leading daily said that BMC’s Chase the Virus has shown the world a way to fight COVID-19. However, he added that BMC is not complacent and that they will not lower their guard.