Indira Nagar in Turbhe 1st Covid-free area in Navi Mumbai
The Indira Nagar area of Turbhe ward has become the first in Navi Mumbai to become Covid-19 free.
An area comprising a slum population of around 36,000, Indira Nagar had just seven active cases in January and all recovered on Wednesday. An intensive contract tracing, enrolling local leaders, social workers and general practitioners have helped reduce the numbers, claimed Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC).
The area has had 13 deaths so far here. However, there was not a single death after June. The cases in Indira Nagar were at their peak in August and September.
Medical officer Maithili Shinde, in-charge of Indira Nagar Health Centre, said that her team made sure that at least 20 contacts of every positive patient were traced and quarantined.
“Be it a factory worker or an APMC worker, we made sure that the contacts were quarantined along with the neighbouring four chawls,” Shinde added.
With the population largely being uneducated, the major challenge that the medical officers faced was to convince them to get tested and use masks. “We sought help from local leaders and visited the homes of people and counselled them. We had to make them understand the importance of using masks and sanitiser, and reporting to us in case of any symptoms,” Shinde said.
Even before the state government had started the drive of ‘My Family, My Responsibility,’ the NMMC had conducted a survey of senior citizens in the area and made a record of those with comorbidities.
“This survey was done in June and July, and also conducted a second survey after the state government’s directives. After the posting of Abhijit Bangar as the new NMMC chief, testing centres were increased and we started stressing on testing for all,” Shinde said.
The medical officer had conducted an online meeting with around 20 general private practitioners in the area and asked them to alert NMMC if anyone complained of even a common flu.
“In this area, normally a person visits a doctor for flu only if the case worsened or they prefer over-the-counter medicines. Already, there was a delay in meeting the doctor and hence we told the private doctors to alert us when such patients came and we sent our ambulance to get the patient to the testing centre. If found positive, the report was sent directly to the doctor,” Shinde said.
She had also interacted with the citizens via a Facebook live which was initiated by a local corporator there in order to spread awareness.
Till now, Indira Nagar had 228 positive cases, of which 215 were recovered and 13 died.
“The health workers worked systematically here. If anyone found positive, their whole machinery came into action. There was no incident of any negligence in the area. We also conducted many drives to distribute essentials to the needy during the lockdown,” Mahesh Kotiwale, Shiv Sena Turbhe region head, said.
Gajratai Inkar, a resident of Indira Nagar, said, “We were frequently attended to by the corporation officials and told about the importance of the precautions that need to be taken.”