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Dharavi’s Success Story: How Asia’s Largest Slum And A Thriving Hotspot Got A Grip On COVID-19

In the last two weeks, Dharavi – a major coronavirus hotspot in Mumbai, has shown significant improvement and emerged as a potential success story, offering a model for developing nations struggling to contain the pandemic

Dharavi’s Success Story: How Asia’s Largest Slum And A Thriving Hotspot Got A Grip On COVID-19
Highlights
  • In Dharavi, nearly 10,00,000 people live in an area of about 2.5 sq/kms
  • Dharavi is Mumbai’s one of the 19 badly-hit localities by the coronavirus
  • Dharavi has shown significant improvement and emerged as a success story

New Delhi: Mumbai’s Dharavi, is considered to be Asia’s largest and most crowded slum, with nearly 10,00,000 people living (Census 2011) in an area of just over 2.5 square kilometres. With a population density of over 277,136 per square kilometre, Dharavi is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and naturally an emerging hotspot for the novel coronavirus. The area is India’s worst-hit city, Mumbai’s one of the 19 badly-hit localities by the virus, with over 2,000 total cases. In the last two weeks, however, this coronavirus hotspot has shown significant improvement and emerged as a potential success story, offering a model for developing nations struggling to contain the pandemic.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) says that Dharavi’s focus on chasing the virus has provided results. Dharavi has reported a decline in the spread of COVID-19 infections from an average of 43 cases per day in the month of May to 19 cases daily in the second week of June. Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G North Ward BMC told NDTV,

80 per cent of people living in Dharavi depend upon the community toilets. Moreover, all the people who live here are ‘hand to mouth workers’ which means they are daily wage workers, migrant labours and skilled workers. If you see their houses, they’re mostly 10×15 feet houses where on an average 10 people live. So anyway, in such a condition, social distancing was not practically possible for them, even if they’re sitting at home.

Also Read: Treating COVID Patients With Blood Plasma From Those Recovered Is Safe, Says Study

The BMC was prepared for the possibility of a spike in cases here. The administration realised that in the case of Dharavi, screening and quarantining was the only option since one positive patient could become a super spreader. All suspects were moved to dedicated quarantine centres, which were set up in schools and parks.

In the month of May, Dharavi reported a total of 1,216 cases, with a death rate of 4 per cent and a recovery rate of 43 per cent. On the other hand, with the help of BMC’s strategy, in the first two weeks of June, there had been 274 confirmed cases; the death rate too, improved slightly to 3.7 per cent while the recovery rate is now up to 49 per cent.

What has also helped is the exodus of migrant labours from Dharavi. But Mr Dighavkar, says fever clinics, aggressive door to door screening among other measures have worked too.

According to our estimates, close to 2 lakh people have left from Dharavi to their respective hometowns. But this still leaves a huge number of people that are still living here. Dharavi is still not empty, it’s only a small fraction of people who have gone back. Sure it has contributed in the improvement, but it is not the sole reason. The major contributors to the improvement are the frequent monitoring, fever camps, screening, isolation of people, testing the isolated people, and getting them the treatment immediately.

Mr Dighavkar and his team, has worked tirelessly to fight COVID-19 but huge challenges are feared as monsoon approaches. Officials are worried that the monsoon could lead to a second spike in the cases.

Also Read: Odisha’s Fight Against Coronavirus Continues, State Sets Up COVID-Care Homes In All Its 6,798 Gram Panchayats

Nandkishore More, Assistant Commissioner of Mumbai Police told NDTV,

As the monsoon is coming, there are many slums in Dharavi that have gutters and waterlogging in these areas becomes an issue. With such problems, we fear the COVID cases might spike once again. But we, the Mumbai police, BMC, and people of Dharavi have faced COVID-19 till date, and will definitely find a way to deal with these struggles too.

While Mr Dighavkar says that the same strategy applied more rigorously and people becoming more attentive and aware can help them avoid a spike amid the monsoon. He says,

Continuous monitoring, screening has developed a sense of awareness among the people living here, and it’s important. When it comes to cleaning of the gutters and other things related to the monsoon, we are taking care of all of that in advance. Now it’s up to the residents to be attentive, and communicate with BMC, that would be our focus to deal with monsoon and I’m positive it will be fine.

Dharavi has shown an improvement in terms of management due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, authorities are not letting their guard down yet because they know, the ‘invisible enemy’, the coronavirus, can return even through the slightest cracks.

Also Read: Odisha’s Fight Against Coronavirus Continues, State Sets Up COVID-Care Homes In All Its 6,798 Gram Panchayats

World

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Deepak

    June 22, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    Have still not got it. What was the strategy to prevent the spread of Coronavirus? As I can make out, it’s the robust immunity system which the residents of Dharavi have developed since their childhood, that would have resulted in the body immune system overcome the Virus with minimum fatalities. So what is it that the authorities have done to make it a model which can be replicated elsewhere?
    Please go to our villages. It’s the same story there. No testing because the people are not getting the symptoms of the Virus. At the same time, does it mean that none of them have it? The migrant workers who have been staying in the cities and returning in hordes back tot heir villages probably would also be positive, but their healthy body & robust immune system would have resulted in their body overcoming the virus.
    Most people hospitalised are elderly from cities, barring a few exceptions. So let’s face it, the good immune system, healthy eating habits (except some city rich) and good health are ensuring that the fatalities in India (when compared to the population) remains one of the lowest in the World.
    Of course, it would also be unfair to disregard the efforts of the Government & health care workers. They have done their best as well

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