A city-based NGO has expressed concern over the state of health of Mumbai, where tuberculosis has emerged as a major killer in the last few years, while some other diseases have also taken a toll on local residents, bringing health and civic authorities under the scanner.
As many as 7,075 people died due to TB in 2013-14 in the financial capital. The total number of deaths caused by the infectious bacterial disease in the last six years stood at a staggering 46,606, according to data collected through RTI by the NGO Praja Foundation, from civic dispensaries/hospitals, State hospitals and other Maharashtra Government facilities.
"With such a large number of deaths occurring due to TB, Mumbai may soon become the TB death capital of the world. We have world-class medical expertise in both public and private sectors, but we don't seem to have a leadership with zeal to control and eradicate TB," Praja Foundation Founder Trustee Nitai Mehta said at a press conference here today.
According to a report on 'State of Health of Mumbai' released by the Foundation on the occasion, 1.2 lakh residents of Mumbai suffered from diarrhoea in the last one year and 255 of them succumbed to the disease. Another seven succumbed to cholera, while 10 people died of typhoid.
"All these diseases that have caused so many deaths could have been easily tackled had the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) taken proper steps," Praja Project Director Milind Mhaske said. All these deaths were "unnecessary" and could have been avoided, he said.
"According to MCGM data, in calender year 2013, 1,393 people died of TB and 30 of malaria. While the RTI data for the same period based on death certificates issued by MCGM under RBD Act reveals that 7,127 died of TB and 199 of malaria," Mhaske said.
The aim of Registration of Birth and Death (RBD) Act is to provide a source of demographic data for socio economic planning, development of health system and population control. MCGM officials are ignoring this data and instead releasing conflicting figures on deaths due to malaria and TB, he alleged.
He also accused the Mumbai MLAs and MCGM Corporators of being silent on health-related issues and rarely raising queries in this regard in legislature or civic body meetings.
"Are these MLAs and Councillors not responsible for letting the Governance slip into a coma while the state of health of Mumbaikars is becoming worse with each passing day?"asked Mhaske.