Kurla, a ward with over 80% slum population and poor health infrastructure, has managed to bring the number of malaria cases in the area to an all time low, making it a model for 23 other wards in the city.
It is also the only ward, of the seven vulnerable wards identified by the BMC last year, which has shown such an improvement.
In the last three months, a team from L-ward (Kurla), comprising a medical health officer, pest control officer and assistant municipal commissioner has brought down the slide positivity rate (SPR) — the rate of malaria positivity in a particular area — from 7.37 to 3.28.
It is also an indicator to check the disease potential among children and the success of pre-monsoon malaria control measures undertaken on a local basis. The team undertook drives in which it identified breeding spots and selected 10 pest control staff for destroying breeding spots.
“Last month, we identified 24 breeding sites, but after the drive, we have destroyed them all,” said Anand Kirloskar, a pest control officer. Apart from the regular collection of slides from people in vulnerable areas the team also collected blood samples of families of those who tested positive.
The doctors are concentrating on patients to complete their 14-day radical treatment (RT), which reduces the chances of relapse and spreading of the disease. The team has also contacted doctors in the area, asking them to share patient data with the BMC staff, so that their RT can be monitored. “We have the numbers of the patients and I call them to ask if they are continuing with the RT,” said Dr Sanjay Funde, medical health officer of L-ward.
BMC plans to replicate the model across all high-risk wards. “The team has shown that if all the procedures are followed malaria can be curbed,” said additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.