Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Health data provided by BMC: NGO

Free Press Journal: Mumbai: Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
The Praja Foudation, an NGO, has now responded to the allegation made by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on manipulating data provided by them. On Monday, the NGO will reply to the showcause notice sent by the corporation. Milind Mhaske, project director, said that they had asked relevant questions through the Right to Information Act, and had compiled data provided by the civic department.
Praja had gathered information through RTI which revealed that 90 questions were raised by corporators in health and standing committee meetings seeking change in the names of hospitals. “The number of health issues raised by corporators has also decreased over the years from 417 queries in 2014-15 to 412 in 2015-16 and 365 in 2016-17,” said Milind Mhaske.
He further stated that corporators are more concerned in changing names of hospitals, cemeteries and dispensaries than raising questions on health issues and death due to diseases. The BMC should focus on curbing diseases rather wasting time on correcting data. “The civic health department should focus and trigger the increasing number of deaths in the city due to Tuberculosis (Tb), Dengue and malnutrition. They should further think of taking steps to reduce the number of malnourished children in city,” said Milind Mhaske.
He further said that at least the government is concerned and raised the points in improving the health condition of the city. “We will take some time to draft answers to the questions raised by the authority. We had to pose an RTI query to all local wards because the main source fails to give information,” added Mhaske.
According to the civic authority, there are many changes and new strategies/protocols implemented over the years due to which the interpretation of the statistical data released is not correct. “There are higher chances of duplication when they conducted a random survey of 20,000 households. The report does not go by the definition. They never consulted us,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer.
Dr Saeeda Khan, corporator, said that: “There are hardly any proposals on preventive medicine and health is a very sensitive issue. But it does not get any importance in meetings and most of the proposals are for doctor’s appointments and promotion in the health committee meetings.”
The data procured by the Praja is not wrong but to some extent they have manipulated the data. “We are very much focused on improving health condition of city despite changing the names of the hospitals,” said Rohini Kamble, chairperson of civic health committee.