The World Health Organisation (WHO) is considering adopting the civic body's anti-tuberculosis (TB) programme as a global urban anti-TB model to tackle the growing cases of the drug-resistant strain of the disease.
In January 2012, after PD Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, announced they were treating 12 patients with Totally Drug Resistant (TDR) or Extra Extensively Drug Resistant (XXDR) TB, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) swung into action, initiating door-to-door surveys to detect cases of TB, training officers at the ward level to detect the disease and upgrading testing facilities with internationally-recognised diagnostic machines like Gene Xpert.
On Monday, the civic body conducted a two-day workshop in Parel to chalk out the five themes on which it would base its anti-TB plan for next year.
Already, there are plans to identify wards with high TB cases to increase preventive and testing activities there, and to provide the city's only TB hospital at Sewri will also get a 200-bed facility to cater to multi drug resistant TB patients.
"The Mumbai anti-TB plan has great potential to become an urban model for TB control," said Dr Sreenivas Nair, national TB officer for WHO, India.
The BMC's efforts have not been in vain.
Last year, 2,429 people were found to have multi drug-resistant TB in the city, a steep increase from the 181 cases detected in 2011 and 53 cases in 2010.
Civic officials said the apparent rise in the number of cases was a result of active detection drives and an increase in the number of testing facilities across the city.
"We aim to detect cases early and encourage complete treatment either in a public or private medical facility," said additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.
The major challenge lies in encouraging private doctors from hospitals to refer TB cases to public centres.
"So far, communication of the existence of TB cases by private practitioners to the government is paper-based. We need to adopt technologies like call centres, SMS and Internet to help doctors notify the government in real time," said Dr Nair.