Mumbai: BMC refutes NGO report, which claims 18 die of TB every day

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has strongly refuted report of non-profit Praja Foundation’s assessment–made from the corporation’s own data–that 18 people die of tuberculosis every day, even as Praja Foundation claims the civic body has no way of knowing if the assessment is wrong because it cannot access its own death-related data ever since it moved to a new software.

The assessment was released two weeks back regarding the deaths due to TB, and was based on data accessed through Right to Information (RTI) filings from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which refutes its conclusions saying the data has been put together “unscientifically,” reported Hindustan Times. Praja Foundation has rejected the charges made by BMC and said that BMC switched to a new software in December 2015, whose design prevents it from accessing its own data on mortality, leaving it with no way of knowing if Praja Foundation’s estimate is incorrect.

The report released by Praja Foundation in the State of Health of Mumbai report, it assessed that 6,472 Mumbaikars died of tuberculosis during 2016-17–nearly 18 people every day. It showed a 37% increase in the number of TB cases in Mumbai–from 36,417 in 2012-13 to 50,001 in 2016-2017. Till December 2015, cause of deaths caused by TB was made available by all 24 BMC wards in System Application Protocol (SAP) software, which was managed locally by its public health department.

After that, the India’s richest civic body moved from SAP to the Civil Registration System (CRS) managed by the central government. The system’s design is such that the Medical Officers of Health of all 24 wards are unable to access mortality data. “We have written to the central government to allow this access about two months ago,” Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC, said.

“Medical Officer of Health who is the sub-registrar should have access to this data since he or she is responsible for all deaths and births registered in the ward,” said Milind Mhaske, Programme Director, Praja Foundation. “However, after adopting the CRS system, they have no way to access data and they aren’t following up with the IT department of CRS to get it.” BMC has so far strongly rejected the charges made by Praja foundation and said that there is discrepancy in the numbers released by the NGO.

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