Dharavi takes battle against Covid-19 ahead, comes forward to donate plasma
Mumbai’s Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, has managed to flatten the curve of the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and will now take the battle against the pandemic further through a plasma donation program.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will launch the plasma donation program on Monday, following the Plasma Daan Sankalp Abhiyan for the primary screening of recovered Covid-19 patients in Dharavi.
The program will be launched on the occasion of Uddhav Thackeray’s birthday on Monday.
Shiv Sena legislator Rahul Shewale has organised the primary screening camp for the upcoming plasma donation camp at Kamaraj Memorial School in the slum, which was once declared a Covid-19 hotspot.
“About 500 Covid-19 recovered patients have shown interest in plasma donation, of which 50 people were primarily screened,” Shewale said.
“Earlier, the people of Dharavi won the fight of Covid-19 and now they are gearing up to win the hearts of the people of Maharashtra,” he added.
Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra’s health minister, had said that the government is planning to start plasma bank in Dharavi and Malegaon.
“We are encouraging people to come forward and donate the plasmas to save the lives of other serious Covid-19 patients,” he had said.
Convalescent plasma therapy involves transfusion of specific components from the blood of people recovered from Covid-19—at least 14 days after their complete recovery—into those who have contracted the disease virus or are in the high-risk category.
Plasma is the almost-clear liquid left behind after red and white blood cells and platelets are removed from the blood.
Dharavi is a densely populated slum area with around 10,00,000 people squeezed in an area spanning 2.5 square kilometres, making it highly vulnerable to spread of contagions such as Covid-19.
Active surveillance and containment measures, including intense screening, testing, sanitation and isolation of Covid-19 patients and suspects, has led to the tapering off in the number of new infections in the area.
Maintaining social distance is a challenge in Dharavi, with a population density of 2,27,136 per sq km. According to a senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official, at least 80% of its population depends on 450 community toilets and the administration had to sanitise and disinfect these toilets several times a day.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier this month praised the efforts taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic in Dharavi, saying that only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn the disaster around.
“And some of these examples are Italy, Spain and South Korea, and even in Dharavi - a densely packed area in the megacity of Mumbai - a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission and suppressing the virus,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the UN health body chief, had said.
The number of coronavirus disease patients in Dharavi rose to 2,519 on Friday with the addition of six cases. It was the third consecutive day that Dharavi registered only single-digit growth, a BMC official said.
Five people had tested positive on July 22, while six cases were added on July 23.
The official said that Dharavi now has 128 active Covid-19 cases and the number of recovered patients has gone up to 2,142.
The civic body has, however, stopped sharing the number of deaths, if any, from the slum.
(With agency inputs)