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Mira Bhayander area ill equipped to tackle Swine flu

26-08-2009
Mira-Bhayander in Thane, Maharashtra has two confirmed and four suspected cases of Swine flu till now. However, the municipal council remains in denial, the schools remain open and no plan of action is in place. Even a test centre does not exist.
Sara D'souza, a resident of Mira Road, who had tested positive for H1N1 virus, had been showing signs of improvement after being treated at Kasturba Hospital. Sara, who was the first confirmed case for swine flu from Mira Bhayander, was rushed to Kasturba Hospital, Ten-year-old Sara D' Souza stays with her mother in Shanti Nagar, Mira Road East. Sara's father, Clifford works in an American cruise ship company he had been to Mira Road in December 2008. He left for work again in February 2009.
 
On August 18, another resident of Mira-Bhayander a 27-year-old pregnant lady who tested positive for H1N1 influenza was declared critical by the civic authorities. The woman, who had been on a ventilator later delivered a stillborn baby that evening. The Mira-Bhayander resident was brought in a critical condition to Kasturba on Sunday afternoon. "She had full-blown Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. And she was close to her delivery date," Dr Pradeep Awate, the in-charge of the state's swine flu cell, said. "She delivered a stillborn child around 5.30 pm on Monday." The doctor, however, said that the stillbirth was not related to her swine flu infection. But he added that the matter had to be investigated. There are four suspected cases of swine flu in Mumbai.
 
Mira-Bhayander Municipal Commissioner, Shiv Murti Naik and Mayor, Narendra Mehta convened meeting of all the school principals in Mira-Bhayander, and had asked them to shut their schools till August 20, 2009. But even after the notification of shutting down the schools, a few private schools went ahead and opened them again. One such school was Subodh Vidyalaya in Bhayander west on Siddhivinayak Marg (for which I had personally spoken to the Commissioner Shivmurty Naik who said he will get the school closed immediately). The school is running in a residential building on the ground floor's six flats where the residents of the building have been complaining to the Managing committee of the school regarding the inconvenience caused by the school.
 
Schools have shut and re-opened but till now, there are no centres for checking of Swine flu in Mira-Bhayander (when I tried to contact the Medical officer of Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation, Chakor he was unavailable for comment and also not answering his cell).  A city which has a population of approximately ten lakh people does not have even one centre for testing and they have to rush to Bhagwati Hospital at Borivali, which is already coping with the load of western suburbs.
 
The MBMC is following a cover up policy with a lax attitude for which citizens might pay dearly. The only caution taken by schools here is if they find a child who has cough and cold they separate him/her from the class but is that a solution? It could mean that maybe the child has a contracted the virus and due to him the entire class, school, his family and the neighbourhood is affected with it.
 
None of the schools have come up with any medical assistance plan in case of any emergencies, which should have been put in place during the period when the schools were shut for a period of a week. But as the MBMC itself has adopted a wait and watch policy nothing will change. So the residents of Mira-Bhayander are at the mercy of God.