Philippines government to follow Dharavi model to curb Covid spread in slums

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Published on Aug 18, 2020 11:49 PM IST
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ByEeshanpriya M S, Mumbai

The Philippines government will follow the Dharavi model to contain the Covid outbreak in their densely populated slums, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Iqbal Singh Chahal said on Tuesday.

BMC has shared the details of the Dharavi model with the Philippine government’s health department. “The Philippines government will follow the Dharavi model. Team BMC shows the way to the world to fight Covid-19 virus, on front foot,” said Chahal.

Chahal also shared a news report from Philippine daily

The news report read: “The DOH declared that it would follow the successful Dharavi-Mumbai campaign conceptualised by Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar. Dharavi in India is Asia’s largest slum where the Hollywood movie, Slumdog Millionaire, was shot.”

Dharavi is India’s largest slum, with over 8.5 lakh people living in around 55,000 dwelling units spread across approximately 2.5sqkm. The population density here is 3.4 lakh per sqkm. On an average, in Dharavi, 8 to 10 people live in a 100-sqft room, making social distancing virtually impossible.

The Dharavi model includes testing in high numbers, moving positive patients to institutional quarantine facilities, shifting high- and low-risk contacts to separate quarantine facilities, and treating patients in time.

BMC organised fever camps, door-to-door surveys, used private clinics and dispensaries to reach a maximum number of people and detect Covid-19 early, according to Kiran Dighavkar, assistant commissioner of the G North administrative ward, with jurisdiction over Dharavi.

Dharavi has seen cases in single digits for the past few days, and its curve flattened by the end of June. On Monday, Dharavi recorded four new cases, and five each on Saturday and Sunday. It saw nine new cases on Friday, and six on Thursday.

This is in contrast to number of cases that were being reported in a single day in May, when Dharavi saw its peak of the infection. On May 3, Dharavi recorded its single day highest number of cases at 94.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Dharavi has touched 2,672, with only 80 active cases. Currently, the doubling rate in Dharavi is 269 days, and growth rate is 0.27%, in contrast to May when the growth rate was at its peak at 4.8%.

Dighavkar said, “We are giving the Philippines government information on how we conducted fever camps in Dharavi, and carried out contact tracing, and organised institutional quarantining.”

Over the past few weeks, Dighavkar has been flooded with calls from municipal corporations in cities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolhapur, for guidance. Chahal said, “BMC’s Chase the Virus Policy has shown the world the way to fight Covid-19, but BMC is not complacent. We will never lower our guard.”

Chahal pointed out that doubling rate in Mumbai is now 86 days, with a low infection rate of 0.8%, and a discharge rate of 81%. Mumbai has done 6.6 lakh tests. He said, “There are 17,800 active cases in Mumbai, symptomatic patients in hospitals are 5,388 and 7,548+ beds are vacant.”

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