Mumbai: One in three sufferers at civic hospitals has a psychological dysfunction

MUMBAI: have emerged as the leading, and surprising, reason for Mumbaikars to visit according to the first extensive study (done over two years) of why patients visit civic . At the , the is ‘fever of unknown origin’. And at the civic dispensaries, spread all over the city, the largest proportion of patients complains of . Also, one in 10 patients at both major and peripheral hospitals comes with animal bites, primarily dog bite.

Over 31% of the 5.6 lakh patients who visited the big four civic hospitals—KEM in Parel, LTMG in Sion, Nair in Mumbai Central and Cooper in Andheri—between October 2015 and September 2017 sought treatment for .

The study on morbidity patterns looked at almost 74 lakh patients who visited the BMC’s four major hospitals, 15 peripheral hospitals and 175 dispensaries in the two-year period. Apart from mental disorders, non-communicable diseases–mainly hypertension and diabetes—are on the rise, said the study.

KEM dean Dr Avinash Supe, who was associated with the study, said it has shown that mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks are on the rise. “It was previously thought that mental health problems such as anxiety disorders are common only among the upper middle class and the rich, but the morbidity study shows us that the economically weaker sections too need mental health intervention,” he said.

Additional municipal commissioner (health) Idzes Kundan said psychiatry as a specialty was available only at the major hospitals. “We realise that the high numbers—almost 1.7 lakh patients over 2 years—are because patients from other cities and districts come here.”

At each level of healthcare facility, ailments or health complaints were different. For instance, was the leading problem (over 33%) for patients visiting peripheral hospitals such as MT Agarwal in Mulund, and Shatabdi in Govandi. Diabetes (almost 20%) and hypertension (over 16%) too were big complaints. Around 10% of the patients at both major and peripheral hospitals came with animal bites, primarily dog bite.

Diabetes (23% of patients), hypertension (23%) and heart disease (7%) were the other major reasons for visiting the four super-specialty hospitals. Infectious diseases such as dengue accounted for only 1.5% of the patient load, and gastroenteritis and malaria less than 1% each.

“We carried out this survey as data speaks a lot,” Kundan told TOI. The ground analysis will not only provide the BMC with the type of ailments in various suburbs and hospitals, it will also help it concentrate on health emergencies in a localized manner. “We can plan specific interventions and use our health budget better,” said Kundan.

The issues were different at the dispensary level, where almost 21% of patients came with airborne infections like fever, cough and cold while 4.8% patients came with issues of unknown fever. Besides these, over 3% of patients complained of dysentery, about 2.8% had diabetes and 2.3% had hypertension.

Dr Seema Bansode from Sion Hospital, who compiled the study, said, “The objective of the study was to find out areas of concern in terms of health as well as about the availability of drugs in the BMC setup for such areas.”

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