The Dabbawalas, the famous food delivery workforce in the metropolis, have joined hands with World Health Organisation to spread awareness about vector borne diseases like malaria and dengue among Mumbaikars.

Under the initiative, started since Monday, the dabbawalas are delivering lunch boxes with specially created tags by WHO to make people aware about diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya, Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust’s former president Raghunath Medge said.

“We have around 5,000 dabbawalas carrying lunch to about two lakh working people in Mumbai. There will definitely be more awareness among my fellow Mumbai citizens now due to our efforts. We have literally forced them to read our messages,” Mr. Medge said.

On teaming up with WHO, he said the dabbawalas wanted to ensure that Mumbaikars understand the value of their lives.

“As hospitals and doctors are increasing nowadays, the number of people suffering from diseases is also increasing. Thousands of rupees are being spent on their treatment. Citizens should value their lives and take protective measures,” he said.

The WHO, along with Maharashtra health department and Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust, called for a greater and focused attention on preventing the spread of vector-borne diseases on the occasion of World Health Day, observed on Monday.

“In India, the risk of vector-borne diseases is massive. Weak collaboration across agencies, sectors and levels of government, including the regulatory mechanisms are some of the key challenges,” WHO representative to India, Nata Menabde said at an event in Mumbai recently.

“The recently conducted joint monitoring mission on vector-borne diseases in India is a step towards reviewing disease control efforts through health systems to identify critical gaps,” she added.

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