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The metropolis is fighting a war against malaria. However, the BMC does not have enough insecticides to combat the disease
Malaria is spreading like wildfire in Mumbai. In July, there has been a three-fold rise in cases diagnosed with the disease compared to last year. Amidst the lack of beds in hospitals and shortage of medicines, here comes another shocker. Civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) does not have enough insecticides to ward off the mosquitoes spreading the disease.
According to a few BMC officials, the municipal authority does not have enough stock of insecticides to curb this disease. They said that the government has not been able to provide adequate funds for buying insecticides, plus payments have not been made to the insecticide manufacturer; even the supply chains are not working.
"We haven't received the necessary funding and there seems to be some payment issues with the insecticide manufacturing company," a BMC official told Moneylife on the condition of anonymity.
There is a shortage of stocks for medicines like Vectobac, and insecticides such as DDVP and Pyrethrum, to combat the disease. Another BMC official told us that ward officers have been asking for the insecticides, but have not been receiving them. "We have received our quota (for our ward), but for the past few days, (other) ward officers have been requesting for insecticides, but they have been told to wait," the official told Moneylife.
"As of today, we have got adequate insecticides, which will last us for a month - and we are in the process of procuring insecticides soon," said Dr Arun Bamne, BMC's chief insecticide officer. He refuted the allegations that there were inadequate funds for insecticides and said that there were no delays in distribution.
According to BMC data, in July, 12,000 people tested positive for malaria from the one lakh slides taken in house-to-house surveys. Last year, during the same period, there were 4,380 positive cases. The number of malaria cases in July has not only more than doubled compared to last year, it could very much be the highest number ever recorded in Mumbai.
Malaria spreads through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The monsoon and post-monsoon period from June to November is considered the high transmission season for malaria.
(This is the first part of a continuing series on the malaria threat facing the city)