14 january 2013
Soon, multi–drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis patients having adherence issues will get the support of professional counsellor. The central government has paid heed to the demands of the civic authorities to provide counsellors for the DOTS plus centres. that cater to drug–resistant TB patients.
Currently, three DOTS plus centres at Sion, KEM and BYL Nair hospitals are treating 2,276 MDR–TB and 24 total drug–resistant (TDR) TB patients. In the absence of professional counsellors, most often district TB control officers double up as counsellors. Even the 24 DOTS centres, catering to over 28,000 patients, will get medical social workers. to smoothen their functioning.
Mumbai TB officer Dr Minni Khetarpal confirmed that the positions of counsellors and medical social workers have been sanctioned by the Centre. tnn"Patients of MDR–TB have to be on medication for two years and many patients tend to discontinue medication as soon as the symptoms disappear," she said, adding that patients show better adherence and cure rate when guided by professional counsellors. It may be noted that TB progresses to take a resistant form when patients default on medication. MDR–TB patients are resistant to the two most effective anti–tubercular drugs.