Every drug shop owner across the state will have to fill up a form recording details of tuberculosis (TB) patients and the concerned doctors’ names while selling medicines to treat the disease.
The health department led by chief minister Mamata Banerjee has issued an order asking owners and retailers of medicine shops to following the directive.
The prime reason for the move is to scan the number of cases at a time when patients suffering from the extreme drug resistance (XDR) and multi drug resistance (MDR) types are on a rise in the state.
The XDR TB is highly infectious and patients suffering from it are likely to spread the fatal bacteria among others. Irregular consumption of medicines leads to XDR and MDR cases.
According to an official of the state TB control section at Swasthya Bhaban, the form supplied to chemist shops by the health de par tment will help monitor TB cases and if the move is properly implemented. Five to seven XDR and 500 MDR cases are reported every year causing worry among health department of ficials. Of ficially, around 90,000 fresh TB cases are reported across the state every year, the official said requesting anonymity.
“Most private sector healthcare institutes do not report TB cases to the health department. As a result, the number of fresh TB cases would have been almost double if we get the reports on the disease from private healthcare institutes,” he added. Alarmed by the report of XDR cases, the state government has already set up a specialised laboratory at Salt Lake on a public-private-partnership (PPP) model with a Mumbaibased agency for sputum culture tests of patients.
One such laboratory has also come up in North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. Another such unit on PPP model will come up at a private hospital soon. The laboratory test will detect whether a patient has XDR or MDR TB. XDR TB is fatal and resistant to almost all drugs, and advanced treatment is required to tame it.
“All districts have been alerted to keep a watch on TB patients attending the sub-centres of the directly observed treatment (DOT) under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) across the state. We do not have adequate number of laboratories required for bacteriological tests of TB patients. We have only one lab in Beliaghata,” a health department official said.
Sources in the health department said that around 3,000 MDR TB cases have been reported in the state, which is an alar ming rise. MDR TB is resistant to drugs like rifampicin and isoniazed. MDR patients undergo second line treatment with drugs like kanamycin, ofloxacin etc for six to nine months.
Senior officials of the state tuberculosis control programme said that a large number of patients do not continue the medicines. As a result, they become susceptible to MDR and XDR TB.
According to a chest specialist associated with SSKM Medical College Hospital, XDR is spreading steadily but sadly it has not being documented. Drug resistance TB can spread from one person to another. It is a different strain of bacteria that inherits the capacity to resist treatment.