09 january 2013
The city will soon get a 200–bedded wing dedicated to drug–resistant tuberculosis patients at the Sewri TB Hospital. A specialized TB clinic in Khar will also come up in the next few months. Moreover, the BMC is looking for space in the eastern suburbs to set up a similar TB clinic, said additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.
The frenetic pace of work to control TB hasn't abated in the year the city earned the notoriety as home to extra extensively tuberculosis (XXDR–TB) cases. "In 2012, we managed to improve diagnosis of the multi drug–resistant (MDR) TB cases," said Mhaiskar. From one centre that could diagnose MDR TB in 2011, the city now has four centres. One of the government–run centres gives the result in two hours instead of weeks that was a norm earlier.
The pilot project rolled out in Mumbai in January 2012 after the discovery of XXDR cases, is clearly working–and it is soon poised to go national. The national standards of TB care that was recently unveiled suggest as much. "Most of the points mentioned in the draft of the standard of care have already been put in practice in Mumbai," said experts. The national workshop to develop standards for TB care in India was held last month and a follow–up meeting was held on January 3 and 4 in New Delhi.
The Mumbai project actively found many patients who would otherwise have suffered in silence. "The number of patients diagnosed with MDR TB has gone up ten times," said city's TB officer Minni Khetrapal, "because we have better facilities". Most of them are on free drugs offered by the national TB programme.
The focus, which was on diagnostics last year, will now shift on treatment as well, said BMC officials. "While the DOTS plus facility was increased from 25 to 125 in Sewri TB Hospital last year, the 200–bedded hospital dedicated to MDR TB will be ready soon. Another DOTS plus site will be coming up in the eastern suburbs by 2013–end," said Mhaiskar.
The BMC also said the door–to–door surveillance for TB, which had started last year, is likely to continue. "We found 629 additional TB cases through our door–to–door surveillance last year. We plan to continue the surveys in 10 sensitive wards, where clusters of TB cases are found," said Mhaiskar.