Another medical student from a civic-run medical college was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) this week, which has sent alarm bells ringing among resident doctors working in the city’s medical colleges.
“After her TB diagnosis was confirmed, she went back to her hometown,” said Dr Santosh Wakchaure, president, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD).
The final-year student from Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central is the second such case at the facility this year. Earlier this month, a female resident doctor from the pathology department was diagnosed with TB.
Last month, an intern from Sion Hospital, Dr Samidha Khandare, 24, died of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). A third-year nursing student, Meghna Jiman, 21, from Nair Hospital, died of MDR-TB on June 28.
Public health experts say incidence of tuberculosis is slightly higher among medicos compared to the community at large. “The biggest risk factor of TB is having a cluster of people living in poor hygiene and malnutrition. An untreated TB-infected person puts all those staying in close proximity at risk. Long working hours and exhaustion reduce immunity, putting them [doctors] at higher risk of developing TB,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, director of infectious disease control department, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road.
To improve TB immunity among resident doctors, the civic body has planned to provide a protein- rich diet. “We have already sent a proposal that will enable doctors to get more free food, including protein-rich food at the canteens,” said Dr A Supe, dean of Sion Hospital. “If air circulation in the wards is better, the chances of contracting the airborne infection is less. We are trying to create more ventilation in our out-patient departments.”
However, MARD officials said diet would not play a major role in improving immunity. “It is not that resident doctors cannot afford good food. What we need is time to eat it.
Especially during monsoon when patient load is high, we get no time for basic meals,” said a MARD official adding that 22 doctors from city colleges have TB.