MUMBAI: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has lauded the ‘Dharavi model’, by which the BMC has managed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the slum for good reason: At last count, Dharavi had 2,370 cases and over 200 deaths, but the projected doubling rate now has now vastly improved compared to just last month’s: 430 days now compared to 108 days in June. In April, the doubling rate in Dharavi was 18 days. At present in the city on an average, the rate is 50 days.

Officials say a clear strategy was followed to ensure that the mortality rate and the spread of the infection were contained within the congested locality, where 80% of the population depends on community toilets. The steps included extensive screening, ensuring strong public private-partnership by involving private medical practitioners from the area, strengthening the health infrastructure by taking over private hospitals so that critical Covid patients could get treatment, augmenting the capacity of institutional quarantine and strict enforcement of containment measures.
WHO said on Friday Dharavi has been successful in breaking the viral chain. “There are many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the #COVID19 outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control,” said WHO’s DG, Tedros Ghebreyesus, adding how in Vietnam, Cambodia… and Dharavi, a strong focus on community engagement and testing, tracing, isolating and treating has been key to breaking transmission chains.
Assistant municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar (for Dharavi’s ward) said this motivates authorities to continue with the screening and testing model in the locality even if the growth rate of cases has reduced from 12% in April to 0.38% now. On July 7, Dharavi reported only one Covid-19 positive patient. This was a first since April 1, when the slum’s first case was found.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Saturday tweeted about Dharavi’s success.

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