A partnership between Lokmanya Tilak Hospital at Sion and a construction company has shown how malaria can be controlled at construction sites.
For their site at Kurla, Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) decided to take help from epidemic control experts from the Preventive and Social Medicine department of civic Sion hospital.
“The developer approached us to help them control the spread of malaria on their site, which was certainly a first,” said Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, head, PSM department Sion Hospital.
Since May, a team of eight to 10 doctors and medical social workers from the department visit the Kurla site every day to supervise the site and conduct induction programmes on health and hygiene, which all new workers have to attend. Safety officers at the site were also trained how they could keep the site free from mosquitoes.
“I found the induction training extremely useful,” said Kuljeet Singh, a 22-year-old worker at the site. “Fewer of us are falling ill and our rooms and work areas are much cleaner.”
“We offered necessary guidance on keeping the site free of waste material and stagnant water,” said Chaturvedi.
The success of this partnership at the 55-acre Kurla site has prompted HDIL officials to replicate this model at their other construction sites in Andheri and Versova. “Who wouldn’t want their workforce to be healthy and more productive?” said Manjay Singh, deputy general manager, HDIL, Kurla.
Those unfortunate to be infected can be treated at the site itself. “Not a single worker had to be referred to a civic hospital for treatment due to complications,” said Sanjay Muttepawar, assistant vice-president, Vascon Engineers that is carrying out construction work for HDIL at Kurla.
For the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, maintaining hygiene at construction sites has been a challenge during the monsoon. More than 20,000 people tested positive for malaria in July alone.
Many of these sites turn into mosquito breeding grounds between June and October because of excess water that remains trapped at these sites.