Taking a leaf from the success against Covid-19 notched up in Asia's largest slum Dharavi, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now implementing a similar strategy for the north-east and north-west suburbs of Mumbai, currently in the grip of the deadly coronavirus, an official said here on Thursday.
The Rapid Action Plan (RAP), found effective in Dharavi and Worli in the public-private-partnership model, is being implemented in Mulund-Bhandup and Dahisar-Borivali-Kandivali-Malad suburbs which continue to record an alarming number of cases daily.
"As in Dharavi and Worli, we shall focus on containing the spread of Covid-19 with a series of initiatives in these suburbs and screening at least 10,000 homes in each Ward to cover over 25 lakh people next week," said an official.
The BMC is collaborating with local doctors, the realtors' body CREDAI-MCHI, NGOs Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana and Desh Apnaye Foundation for this dedicated drive in the suburbs.
Fifty mobile fever clinics in ambulances with a team of medicos drive around all day for a door-to-door check on residents, detect symptoms or comorbidities, collect swabs from suspects and create general health awareness among the people.
Each community volunteer, armed with a thermal scanner and pulse oximeter, screens around 100 houses daily amid plans to touch over 25 lakh people by next week.
To expedite testing, Maharashtra is procuring ICMR-approved 100,000 Rapid Antigen Test Kits from SD Biosensor, South Korea - which can provide results in just 30 minutes - for people living in all the corona hotspots in Mumbai and Pune.
With this, the number of daily tests in Mumbai is expected to go up by nearly 35% to 6,000, though Delhi conducts more than 15,000 tests per day.
For these and other initiatives including the Dharavi success story leading to an unbelievable doubling time of 78 days, the BJP government at the Centre lauded the BMC and the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress Maharashtra government last Sunday, first highlighted by IANS on June 21.
Under the 4Ts - Tracing, Tracking, Testing, Treating - approach in Dharavi, the BMC actively screened 5.48 lakh people, tested nearly half a million, separated senior citizens to limit the transmission and shifted suspected cases to quarantine centres immediately.
This paid dividends in the form of a case doubling rate of more than 78 days in Dharavi, or double the Mumbai average of around 37 days and new cases plummeting to single digit figures in Dharavi. The BMC is optimistic of repeating this in the north-Mumbai suburbs.
Currently, Mumbai has 69,528 patients including 28,548 active cases, and has recorded 3,964 deaths - all figures the highest in India.