09 July 2012
Pune: Exactly two months after the Union government made it mandatory for private doctors and hospitals to notify cases of tuberculosis to local government/ semi–government authorities, only 13 hospitals in Pune have reported such cases treated by them to the TB control unit run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The PMC had issued a circular to over 300 hospitals to notify TB cases. On May 23, they had warned the doctors that their licences would not be renewed if they failed to report cases.
Till now, doctors in the private sector were not required to keep records of the TB patients they treated.
"The private hospitals’ response to the circular has been cold. Only 13 of them have reported to us a total of 51 new TB cases. Even if a hospital does not have a TB case on their hands, they are supposed to report to the authorities every month," said N D Thakur, chief of the PMC’s tuberculosis control unit.
On May 15, TOI had reported how private doctors, caregivers and doctors’ associations were ignorant about the Union government’s notification.
Every month, the city reports 300 to 350 new TB cases. "Now, with these 13 private hospitals also reporting cases, the figure stands at 400 TB cases this month," Thakur said. Asked what measures the PMC will take to get more hospitals to report cases, Thakur said, "We have 50 TB health workers who will visit hospitals in their area to take stock of the TB cases treated there. The health workers will also ensure that every private hospital has received the PMC circular."
According to the Union health ministry, the private sector is the first point of contact for health services for 60% Indians.
The notification added, "Early diagnosis and complete treatment of TB is the key to prevention and control strategy. Inappropriate diagnosis and irregular/incomplete treatment with anti–TB drugs may contribute to complications, spread of the disease and emergence of drug–resistant TB."
Multi–drug–resistant (MDR) TB has reached menacing proportions with 15 lakh new cases reported every year. According to WHO, around 73,000 notified new TB cases in 2010 were already multi–drug resistant. Of these, less than 3,000 were detected.
WHO says 2.1% of new cases in India are MDR–TB while as many as 15% of re–treatment TB cases are developing MDR–TB.
Undiagnosed and mistreated cases continue to drive the epidemic in India. In 2010, there were around 2.3 million TB cases with 360,000 deaths. Around 1,000 people die of TB every day.
Nearly one in six deaths among people aged 15–49 is due to TB. Nearly 100,000 cases of serious MDR–TB are estimated to occur in the country annually, and each case costs more than Rs 1 lakh to be diagnosed and treated.