With 12,000 malaria cases and eight deaths in the past three months, citizens are spearheading campaigns to ensure their neighbourhood is malaria-free this monsoon.
A case in point could be the Little Gibbs Road Advanced Locality Management (ALM) in Malabar Hill. The ALM had, last year, sought a photo audit of breeding grounds for mosquitoes in their area. Conducted by Pest Control India in collaboration with the ALM and the municipal corporation, the ALM will now see if these breeding grounds have been cleared. “Using the photo audit evidence from last year, we will check whether the problem areas have been addressed in a pre-monsoon audit,” said Indrani Malkani, secretary of the ALM.
From posters, awareness campaigns to working with authorities, residents associations and ALMs are spending their summer preparing for the dreaded disease.
In Khar, while the Union Park Residents’ Association is using their community radio, 90.8 FM to spread awareness about malaria, the Khar Residents’ Association is distributing posters informing locals about the spread of malaria.
“Apart from fumigating the area, we have asked the ward officers to spay chemicals in the storm water drains,” said Anandini Thakoor, managing trustee, Khar Residents’ Association.
From Dadar to Antop Hill, citizen representatives have been meeting families and distributing literature on malaria. “We extract information, pictures and statistics from newspaper articles, municipal corporation advertisements and literature available with the health and pest control department and create pamphlets to distribute,” said Gaurang Vora, member, F North Ward Citizens Federation.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation too is happy to share the burden. “Community participation is important to achieve success in a project. The initiative taken by citizens will certainly help curb the spread of the disease. Community participation will reduce our work by half,” said GT Ambe, BMC executive health officer.
While citizen groups are doing their bit to fortify their localities, residents are also doing their best to protect their families. “My daughter has fallen prey to malaria four times in the past one year. I try to keep my house as clean as possible by mopping the floor with water and disinfectant twice a day. I also ensure that the water drums are cleaned out everyday,” said the Kavita Pawar, resident of Janata Chawl in Khar.