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Slum dwellers at high risk of community transmission

Low awareness, lack of protection main reasons

Published : 21 May 2020 09:29 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 10:13 AM

Most of the people living in congested city slums are at higher risk of speedy contamination while also pose threats of greater community transmission of coronavirus, said health experts.

They said that low awareness, lack of protection and overcrowding in their community is a major threat to speedy transmission of the deadly virus that could also contaminate other neighbouring communities adjacent to their cluster homes.

The major clusters of such slums are located in city’s Vashantek, Kalyanpur, Porabosti, Beguntila, Mirpur, Sattola, Bashabo, Mohammadpurand Mohakhali. The slum dwellers seem to be most ignorant about corona protection as they have little knowledge on the risks of the transmission.

They said that massive regular public-private awareness campaigns are need to be strengthened to reduce the risk in the slum areas. Maintaining hygiene in such overcrowded community should be a priority as most of them cannot afford to buy protective gears for themselves.

The experts also pointed out that adequate face masks, hand gloves, water and soap should be provided in such slums to ensure their safety and well as for the neighbouring community. Otherwise the infection will silently spread in other communities where the risks are much lower.

It is not surprising to find slum dwellers roaming around for work without any protection. Most of them do not understand the significance of wearing a mask, hand glove or ever the importance of using hand sanitizer.

Most of the slum dwellers believe that corona is a disease of the urban rich people and staying in village may be an answer to staying away from the virus.“If Allah has mercy on us nothing can kill us but if Allah condemns us to death then nothing can stop his order,” says a slum resident who believe Allah will save them.

Humanyun Kabir, a rights activist of an NGO based in the capital said, “The social life in a slum is definitely based on sharing many things like toilets, bathing, often cooking and even drying clothes. So, it is quite obvious that the virus would be transmitted swiftly among them if anyone is infected. In fact, families often live in tiny single room where there is hardly any room for walking.”

Professor Z M Kabir Chowhdury,speaking on the health hazards of corona transmission in the slums, said “This is a public health emergency now. As the living condition of the slums are very poor, they are at the highest risk of contaminating the disease.”

He warned that people who believe in myths must be given proper knowledge on the transmission methods of coronavirus. “It is purely science, not fantasies,” he said.

He also noted that slums need to be looked after by authorities concerned. They have to be kept in quarantine as well as launch corona testing.