Mumbai: Mental health disorders have emerged as the leading, and surprising, reason for Mumbaikars to visit civic medical colleges according to the first extensive study (done over two years) of why patients visit civic healthcare facilities. At the BMC’s peripheral hospitals, the primary diagnosis is ‘fever of unknown origin’. And at the civic dispensaries, spread all over the city, the largest proportion of patients complains of respiratory ailment. 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 psychiatric disorders.

Hypertension, diabetes on the rise in Mumbai: Study

Mumbai: The BMC’s two-year study on morbidity patterns looked at almost 74 lakh patients who visited the BMC’s major and peripheral hospitals, and dispensaries. It showed that apart from mental disorders, non-communicable diseases-—mainly hypertension and diabetes—are on the rise.

KEM dean Dr Avinash Supe, who was associated with the study, said, “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 that economically weaker sections too need mental health intervention.”

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 districts come here.”

At each level of healthcare facility, the order of complaints was different. For instance, fever of unknown origin was the leading problem for patients visiting peripheral hospitals. But diabetes and hypertension were among the top three reasons for visiting both major and peripheral hospitals. Infectious diseases such as dengue, gastroenteritis and malaria accounted for a tiny fraction of the patient load.

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.

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. Dr Seema Bansode from Sion Hospital, who compiled the study, said, “The objective was to find areas of health concern as well as the availability of drugs in the BMC set-up.”