The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) will provide $7 million (around Rs42 crore) to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its tuberculosis control programme.
The BMC, to gauge the burden of tuberculosis on the city, plans to have a real-time TB notification programme that will also require private medical practitioners to notify patients under their treatment.
The BMGF will provide technical assistance for the programme, according to a memorandum of cooperation signed between BMC and BMGF on Wednesday. The funding to BMC will be spread over a period of three years.
"The digital TB notification will take at least a year," said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
The TB notification programme for Mumbai is planned on the lines of Nikshay, a scheme under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme to register TB cases across the country, taking treatment under the programme. Mumbai's notification programme aims to collect data of patients from the private sector also.
For the first time, an international non-profit like BMGF has partnered with a corporation body. BMGF was set up by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
While the civic body received funding from BMGF, the state health department also promised to supply a high-tech machine worth Rs40 lakh required for testing drug resistance in TB patients. At present this testing facility is available only in Bangalore.
"Uncoordinated private health care and large slums make Mumbai vulnerable to TB. Through this partnership, we expect to achieve accurate diagnosis of TB cases," said Girindre Beeharry, director, India Country Office, BMGF, adding that they plan to establish a public private interface agency.
The civic body also plans to set up patient support units, such as a call centre facility for TB patients to get accurate information about the disease and treatment facilities. The BMC began a TB control programme after a surge in the number of drug resistant TB cases. Last year, 2159 multi drug resistant TB patients were detected in the city.