On the occasion of World Tuberculosis Day on Saturday, civic health workers will start visiting households in 10 wards of the city, known to have high incidence of TB cases, for identifying suspected TB patients.
This is one of the many initiatives the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has undertaken to control TB in the city. After Hinduja Hospital reported cases of extremely drug resistant (XXDR) or totally drug resistant (TDR) TB, the Central TB Division prepared a special blueprint for Mumbai.
“The only effective way to control TB is early detection and completion of treatment,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
Activists said this move would help the TB programme because it is hard to trace patients in case they drop out of TB treatment.
Non-compliance to treatment not only makes the patient susceptible to drug resistance but also increases the risk of spread of infection.
For example, since January 2012, BMC received data of 971 MDR patients, identified by different labs in the past one year. More than 50% of them could not be traced. Of the 228 patients identified in Mumbai, 69 have shown willingness to receive DOTS plus treatment from government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme(RNTCP). However, 81 patients from the 431 who were contacted refused to speak to the civic officials.
After appointing 24 TB officers for each ward and a supervising Mumbai TB officer, the civic body now plans to rope in private medical practitioners (PMP). “Involvement of private practitioners is crucial, especially those in slum areas. So we will hold training workshops for around 1000 PMPs in the coming week,” said Mhaiskar.
The Indian Medical Association has also agreed to conduct sensitisation and training programmes for their members so that treatment can be standardised in the future.