The latest sero survey conducted at slum areas of south Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade area, it was found out that 40 percent of the residents living in these slums are reluctant to undergo COVID-19 tests.
The survey was conducted between October 5 and 10 at the slum areas of Macchimar Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar (Transit Camp), Ganesh Murti Nagar (Part 1 and 3) and Geeta Nagar at Cuffe Parade. The survey was jointly conducted by municipal corporator- Harshita Narwekar along with Eyebetes Foundation, Mumbai.
A total of 1,324 people were screened during the survey of which 536 people (40 percent) refused to undergo any blood test, despite making them understand that an antibody test is a result of past infection and not present infection and a positive result would not lead into any quarantine.
“The BMC had been bit harsh with the people living in these slum areas, when the pandemic was at its pick civic officials transferred many of these people in various quarantine facilities, where many of them must have had bad experiences due to this rest of the people have now become quite apprehensive of getting themselves tested,” Dr Nishant Kumar, who spearheaded the survey told FPJ.
In the survey it has been also found out that 75 percent of these residents have already developed antibodies, which means 75 percent of these people were already exposed to the COVID-19 virus at some point in the past few months. The survey also found out that only eight people were diagnosed with the disease in the past months.
Dr Kumar said so many people being positive, yet they never got tested is a matter of concern. Most of them are asymptomatic and may have caused the spread amongst others. “This fear of COVID testing is not isolated to these few wards. I believe this is a much bigger problem and the mandatory door-to-door screening has made people fearful and reluctant to test,” he added.
A majority of the slumdwellers are employed as domestic help and drivers in South Mumbai’s residential buildings and offices. “There are people with COVID like symptoms, who are not undergoing tests for the fear of being quarantined. This lack of testing puts these people at risks along with their family and the community. Over 50 percent of them share toilets and over four people live in a room,” said Narwekar.