29 March 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) that took the lead to augment TB control in India through involvement of private practitioners, has now decided to expand the scope of their project to ten states, starting April 1.
Dr Dilip Shirole, in charge of the IMA’s public private partnership project said that doctors would be encourage to set up Direct Observation Treatment (DOT) centres and microscopy centres to provide free of cost treatment for TB patients.
According to Dr.Sandeep Bharswadkar, technical consultant for the Pune unit of IMA’s public private partnership project 400 doctors have set up DOT treatment centres in their private practice and provide free of cost treatment for TB patients as part of the PPM project in the last three years in the state.
Because of its successful implementation in six states including Maharashtra in last three years, the central government has expanded the programme to ten more states from April 1. Till now private practitioners did not have an organised practice as far as public health initiatives are concerned, says Shirole.
Millennium development goal states that we need to reduce prevalence of TB to less than 1 per 1 million population, said Shirole and hence the IMA has aimed at achieving this goal by not only working with existing resources and systems but also trying to innovate in all the areas of control of TB.
That may be in the form of newer diagnostic tools which can detect TB and special forms of TB like MDR TB more efficiently and effectively in limited resource setting within short time, says Bharswadkar. Nearly 70–80 per cent of the patients are examined by private practitioners and hence if they are involved in setting up DOT centres at their clinics then it will provide easy access to patients for treatment. This will help to reduce further burden of TB in community, Shirole added.
The states that are now involved in the PPM project include Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Gujarat.