Private hospitals must report TB cases to government, say officials
According to a study based on the commercial sale of anti-TB drugs in India, the country’s TB burden is higher than the government’s estimates. The findings, which were published in the scientific journal Lancet on Thursday, estimated an average of 2.2 million drug-sensitive TB cases in 2014, which is two to three times higher than the government’s figures.mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2016 00:26 IST
To arrive at the actual estimate of tuberculosis (TB) cases in India, private hospitals in the country must report all the TB cases they treat to the government, said officials.
According to a study based on the commercial sale of anti-TB drugs in India, the country’s TB burden is higher than the government’s estimates. The findings, which were published in the scientific journal Lancet on Thursday, estimated an average of 2.2 million drug-sensitive TB cases in 2014, which is two to three times higher than the government’s figures.
The study also revealed that the number of TB patients who seek treatment in private hospitals is double the number of patients visiting public hospitals. The researchers used data of drug sales collected by IMS Health to arrive at these findings.
Dr Nimalan Arinaminpathy, lecturer at School of Public Health at Imperial College and author of the paper, said, “Quarter of the world’s TB cases are reported in India. While no cases were reported from private hospitals in 2011, the figures increased to over a lakh in 2014. The government has asked private hospitals to report the TB cases they treat, as this will help them arrive at estimates.”
Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general, directorate general and health services, who co-authored the paper, said that is a need to have better surveillance. “The study has shown that the number of cases in the private sector is higher than the public sector. There is no doubt that private hospitals need to report the TB cases they treat,” he said.
The study says
None of the 623 pharmacies surveyed across Mumbai, Delhi and Patna dispensed first-line anti-TB drugs, revealed a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. This was an encouraging factor, said one of the authors.
Irrational over the counter drug distribution by private pharmacist has been one of the key factors affecting tuberculosis control programs in the country. The results of the study also suggested better management of confirmed cases than suspected cases by pharmacies. “Only some urban Indian pharmacies correctly managed patients with tuberculosis symptoms, but most correctly managed a diagnosed TB case,” the researchers said.
Between April 1, 2014, and Nov 29, 2015, the researchers collected samples from the pharmacies to find out only 99 of 599 pharmacies ideally managed presumptive cases and only 80 of 599 cases were referred to health centers, showing the extremely low referral rate while dispensing antibiotics.
“Low referral rates of suspected cases only show high drug abuse in these patients thereby increasing the risk of drug resistance before initiation of treatment,” the researchers added.