Mumbai civic body changes its strategy to fight TB
To make more tuberculosis (TB) patients adhere to the treatment regime, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s health department has made changes in its scheme to curb the spread of the disease.mumbai Updated: Feb 08, 2017 01:00 IST
To make more tuberculosis (TB) patients adhere to the treatment regime, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s health department has made changes in its scheme to curb the spread of the disease.
On Monday, the civic body rolled out the Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) anti-TB drugs. They will provide a patient a month’s supply of drugs, which they can take at home. FDC is a concoction of four first-line anti-TB drugs— rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol, all combined in one pill.
Before the rollout of FDC medicines, patients were given the four drugs separately. They were required to take the drugs three times a week under the government’s Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) strategy.
“The FDC medicines will reduce the number of medicines a patient has to take in a week. Earlier, they had to take 7 to 8 medicines a day, three times a week depending on their weight parameters, under the supervision of a doctor at a DOTS centre. But now, patients will need to take two to five tablets every day,” said Dr Daksha Shah, city’s TB officer.
The new patients, who will be registered under the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) will be given the FDC medicines, she said. However, patients who are on the old three-week regimen will not be moved to the FDC programme.
Although patients will take FDC medicines at home, they will be closely monitored by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
“After taking their daily dose, a patient will have to call on a toll-free number. This call will tell us that they have taken their medicines for the day,” said Dr Shah.
“If they fail to call us up for three consecutive days, we will call them up,” she added.
According to Dr Shah, around 85 % of the TB patients registered under the RNTCP in the city have mobile phones.
“For patients who don’t have mobile phones, they can ask their relatives to register and give a call,” she said.