Daily wage labourer Deepak Sutar, 35, who works in a plastic moulding factory and earns Rs 155 a day, has one thing in common with his employer. They both have diabetes. Sutar’s is one of the many cases of individuals from the lower economic strata of society having lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
With civic dispensaries witnessing a surge in diabetes and hypertension patients coming from slums, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will survey the city’s slums and find out the number of patients, and the severity and patterns of the cases.
The civic body will screen at least 16 lakh slumdwellers, above the age of 30, for hypertension and diabetes under a project flagged off by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. A similar survey is to be carried out later in other metro cities of the country.
In the last week of September, a meeting was held between officials from the civic department and the state government to chalk out a way in which the survey will be carried out.
A team of five people will be chosen to screen 150 people on a daily basis. According to the 2001 census, 60 per cent of Mumbai’s population lives in slums. “The funds and logistics required to carry out the exercise will be provided by the Centre,” said Dr GT Ambe, civic executive health officer.
Ambe added that the Centre has given them fasting blood sugar and blood pressure levels for reference. And, if any person is found to have levels above the reference levels, then he/she will be referred to a civic hospital, which will track the case. “Any blood pressure levels above 120/80 mm HG would be referred to civic hospitals. For diabetes, fasting sugar levels more than 126 mg will be tabulated,” said Ambe.
According to statistics available with the health department, cases of hypertension and diabetes have risen by at least 30 per cent at slums in Kurla and Govandi.
“Earlier these diseases were restricted to the upper-middle class population, but now even the slum dwellers are contracting these ailments,” said a senior civic official.