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Mumbai faces season's worst Malaria scare


Kajal Iyer,CNN-IBN
Aug 03, 2010 at 09:01pm IST

Mumbai Mumbai, the country’s biggest business hub, is now in the grip of the deadly Malaria outbreak. 18 deaths have been reported in the month of July only and over 40 deaths since January; making it a big public health concern for the state government.

However, for the family of a malaria victim, Juhi Biswas, the state government concern over the issue has come a little too late.

19-year-old, Juhi Biswas, is one of the victims of the malaria outbreak plaguing Mumbai this monsoon season. Juhi, a student at Mithibai College in Mumbai, died on July 6, 2010. Her family alleges that the doctors at a hospital did not heed her after making repeated complaints of chest pain.

"She was at the hospital under constant supervision of doctors, nurses and RMOs, how did her condition then deteriorate?" said Juhi’s mother Mita Biswas.

After repeated protests, the family has been now assured by the state government that they will take action on the case. But that's easier said than done, considering the shoddy state of the health infrastructure in the city.

Interestingly, the BMC itself has admitted that Mumbai's health facilities can cover just 80 lakh people, whereas the city's population is 1.4 crore. There are huge queues in suburban hospitals where close to 50 per cent beds are occupied by fever and malaria patients. The city has only one laboratory to check blood samples for both the malaria and swine flu patients.

Most malaria cases have been reported in suburbs of Mumbai like Andheri , Dadar, Byculla, Worli, Parel and Kurla areas where a lot of construction work is actively taking place.

Meanwhile, the BMC has now employed 700 paramedics to go door to door to collect blood samples from residents.

"We have taken some extra measures and the results would be visible in seven to ten days." Said the Health Minister of state, Suresh Shetty.

The BMC has employed around 400 employees for the cleaning operations across the city, but the question is why the necessary measures weren’t taken much earlier.

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