Many private hospitals are not reporting vector-borne diseases to the public health department, leaving government health agencies with inadequate data, according to officials from the health department of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The BMC has started sending notices to hospitals that have been treating dengue and chikungunya patients, asking them to report cases of patients, suffering from the vector-borne disease, regularly. Vectors refer to organisms like insects that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans.
Recently, through documents accessed under the Right To Information Act, NGO Praja Foundation pointed out that only 30% of the city’s population depends on public hospitals for treatment, while others prefer to go to private clinics or hospitals for treatment.
“The numbers projected by BMC is flawed, because a number of private hospitals are not reporting the cases and those numbers aren’t considered while preparing an action plan,” said a person from Praja Foundation.
Senior doctors from Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla, recently received such a notice from BMC after they allegedly failed to report cases of dengue treated at the hospital.Dr Sachin Gadkari, head, medical services, Kohinoor Hospitals, said a notification has been sent to them but they had already sent the details by that time. “We have been sending the reports every week and now we have started notifying the local medical officer every evening about the day’s update,” said Gadkari.
BMC executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said that while all the large hospitals, governed by the charity commissioner, are notifying the cases, medical officers of municipal wards have the responsibility to check if the cases are reported usually. “We had sent a general notification to about 43 hospitals to record the cases through epidemiology cell. The local MOs are ensuring that the smaller hospitals are sending records, the data is available with them,” said Keskar.
Talking about the recently reported cases of chikungunya in the city, she said that there is no need to panic as the ailment is not severe and has a negligible mortality rate. “The cases are not concentrated in one region; neither does it have any immediate threats like in the case of severe dengue, such as sudden drop in platelets. At the same time, people need to be more vigilant about their own surroundings and report any probable breeding site as soon as they spot one,” said Keskar.
“The morbidity of chikungunya is about 30% to 70% and the mortality is negligible. Fever, headache, myalgia (muscle pain), rash and joint pain are the most common symptoms and people should seek expert advice if they develop a rash on the second or fifth day of fever,” said the recently-released report by the BMC.