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Alarming number of people affected by mosquito borne diseases in Mumbai: NGO

An NGO, Praja Foundation's survey among 15,0000 households in Mumbai established that over 3.9 lakh people in 2011-12 were affected by malaria or about 148 in every 1000 people. The official figures however put the number at just 29,828 cases. The reason for this discrepancy is due to the fact that private hospitals aren't obliged to report dengue or malaria cases to the BMC.

Dengue cases too are on the rise. Dr Hemant Thacker, who consults at Jaslok and Breach Candy Hospitals, said "The reason why dengue cases have been going up was due to the virus that spreads the disease. Dengue is caused by a virus, while malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium. Though the lifespan of a virus is only 5-15 days, due to sudden weather changes, the virus remains active causing dengue, he said, adding that the BMC has been able to control malaria cases in the city."

"Our report on the state of health of Mumbai raises several red flags. The survey revealed that more than 30% of households spend 11% or more of their annual income on hospitals and medical costs. The survey also shows that almost 80% Mumbaikars did not have a medical insurance. Also, 75% of Mumbaikars use private sources, hence, there is a need for a strong mechanism to collect data from them," said Nitai Mehta,founder trustee of Praja Foundation.

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Since malaria, dengue and diarrhoea come under non-notifiable diseases; private hospitals don't mention those cases to the BMC. BMC health officer Dr Arun Bamne added that they hadn't received the Praja Foundation report yet and were therefore unable to comment on its validity or revelations.

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