Chemists to help identify TB patients | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Chemists to help identify TB patients

Soon, your neighbourhood chemist will gently nudge you to go for a medical examination if you have chronic cough or persistent fever — one of the main symptoms of tuberculosis (TB).

mumbai Updated: Jan 23, 2012 02:02 IST
Prachi Pinglay

Soon, your neighbourhood chemist will gently nudge you to go for a medical examination if you have chronic cough or persistent fever — one of the main symptoms of tuberculosis (TB).

On Sunday, more than 50 chemists in the city signed up to be DOTS (Directly Observed TB Short Course) providers and will also help the government identify patients with TB symptoms.

As part of an ongoing public-private partnership between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Indian Pharmaceutical Association and several chemists associations, more than 500 chemists across the city are likely to be trained in the next one year.

“We come across customers who do not complete medication or visit the doctor despite persistent cough. Through this programme, we can refer them to diagnostic centres and help TB patients complete their DOTS course,” said Manohar Dongre, who has been running a shop in Mulund for more than 20 years.

The workshop trained the chemists in TB awareness, identifying symptoms, examining prescriptions and basic classification of drugs meant for primary and multi-drug resistant TB. Civic officials also explained how to distribute and follow up DOTS programme with each patient.

On Saturday, 40 chemists in Ulhasnagar signed up for the same programme.

“Patients with TB will be more regular with the treatment if the medication is available with chemists closer to their homes,” said Dr Shruti Prabhu, medical officer, district tuberculosis centre, Mumbai.

Last year, around 150 chemists, primarily based in Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi, and Kalyan were trained as part of this initiative.

“I referred three patients for diagnosis and they were all tested positive for TB,” said Dhanshekhar Nadar, chemist from Mulund who had signed up last year.

“Chemists are the first contact point for people who self-medicate and can play an important part in identifying tuberculosis patients,” said Manjiri Gharat, honorary secretary, Community Pharmacy Division, Indian Pharmaceutical Association.

Doctors welcomed the ongoing initiative. “Getting chemists involved is a good idea because many times patients avoid visiting a hospital fearing that people will ask questions. They hide their disease from relatives and friends and keep away information that TB can spread,” said Dr Prashant Chhajed, chest physician, Kohinoor Hospital.