“It was not easy handling Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, which has a population in crores. But now we have everything under control, including cases, deaths, recovery rate, and strategies made to handle the situation,” says Dr Mangala Gomare, Executive Health Officer, in an interview with Swapnil Mishra.
Q. What are your plans and strategies to handle cases during festival season?
We will be following the circulars issued by the state government, and our focus is on ensuring compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour- mask use, washing hands, social distancing. Moreover, the buildings with more than five cases will be sealed, and sanitisation will be done. Meanwhile, the contact tracing is to be completed in 72 hours, and testing of high-risk contact will be done on 1st day itself and repeat testing after five days.
Q. Is the surge in Covid-19 cases an indication that the third wave can start anytime in the coming week?
There has been a gradual rise in cases since the last two weeks after the opening of city malls, trains, etc. The cases might rise further in the festival period. Hence we need to be careful and practice Covid appropriate behaviour like the use of masks, regular hand washing, social distancing and avoiding crowded places. BMC is monitoring the disease trends to see if Mumbai is entering a third wave. Suitable action will be taken accordingly.
Q. How was your experience during the ongoing pandemic?
Covid-19 management in Mumbai was challenging considering the population density of the city. In 2021, there was a huge number of cases compared to 2020. However, deaths were lesser in 2021. Mumbai had a steady infrastructure of war rooms, CCC2, DCH and DCHC and a dedicated O2 monitoring team, which helped Mumbai tide over the 2nd wave crisis.
Q. What measures are we taking to control monsoon ailments which are increasing along with Covid-19?
1. Malaria/ Dengue: Five-point programme
Effective vector control like source reduction, anti larval activities, removal of odd articles, fogging and IRS.
Early diagnosis by active surveillance in the form of house to house surveys.
Monitoring construction site activities; complete treatment including RT, quality assurance of testing, passive surveillance through dispensaries/ hospitals.
Micro-mapping and micro-planning at ward level to identify clusters and control activities.
IEC Awareness campaigns, training of private and BMC medical and paramedical staff.
IEC awareness campaign to ask people not to walk through flooded areas. Sensitisation of PMP to give doxycycline for all fever cases
House to house survey and doxycycline prophylaxis within 72 hours in flooded areas for early diagnosis and treatment.
3. Waterborne diseases like gastro/ hepatitis:
Awareness campaign to maintain hygiene while making and storing food, boiling water, avoiding eating unhygienic outside food, sherbets, etc. People must consult a doctor in case of symptoms
Licensing of eateries, ice factory inspection, water surveillance and necessary legal action.