Of these 1,118 have recovered and been discharged. Another 11,986 identified as close contacts have been placed under quarantine. A total of 79 deaths have been reported. Earlier this week, the ministry of health and family welfare applauded the BMC for its efforts in containing the virus in the slum, which is spread across 2.5 square km and has a population of 6.5 lakh.
On April 1, when a clothes shop owner became the first person from Dharavi to die of Covid-19, civic authorities swung into action and began contact tracing. However, they faced a tough challenge in Dharavi, which largely comprises 10 ft x 10 ft hutments with eight to 10 people each, and where 80% of the population depends on community toilets, making home quarantine impossible.
To help overcome these challenges, the BMC roped in private doctors in the area. Starting with 24 GPs who had initially shuttered their clinics, the BMC began doorto-door screening. But as more GPs with clinics in the area joined in the BMC’s efforts, the civic body decided to drop door-to-door screening, and instead conduct screening at these clinics. Currently, about 350 GPs from Dharavi are helping in the fight against Covid-19.
Dr Anil Pachnekar, a 60-yearold
Explaining the process, he said, “When a patient comes to the clinic the first things we check are his temperature and oxygen saturation. High temperature along with a saturation level below 95% are initial symptoms of covid-19. We immediately refer such patients for testing.”
He recalled the case of a 45-yearold whose oxygen saturation level was below 90 but was not willing to get admitted to a hospital out of fear. “A
Another GP, 52-year-old Dr Chandrashekhar Tavare, said doctors in the area put themselves at risk for their fellow residents. “Over 20 GPs tested positive in Dharavi. Despite that no one shut their clinic,” he said. He added that the exodus of migrant workers from Dharavi also contributed to the decline in cases.
Kiran Digavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, of
Only critical patients were shifted outside Dharavi, and 90% of patients were treated within Dharavi itself.
The BMC distributed more than 25,000 grocery kits and 21,000 food packets inside containment zones so that people didn’t venture out.