More than half the patients at Sewree TB Hospital who were provided with upma and sheera by the civic body in a bid to boost their immunity refused to eat it. Last year, the civic health department gave nutritional supplement to several MDR-TB patients at the hospital. “When we took a review we found that 54% refused the free supplements. Most found it monotonous,” said Dr Daksha Shah, Mumbai’s TB officer adding that 25% said they did not want to eat the same thing every day.
Knowing the importance of nutrition in TB treatment, the state government through the civic body has now made provisions for rations for patients. “The patients will be given a stipulated quantity of rice, wheat, tur daal and edible oil which they can take home. We have observed that adherence to treatment improves if they receive nutritional support,” added Shah.
In fact, the civic body along with non-profit organisations has started several projects to provide different food items along with medicines for drug resistant patients. In Govandi, 101 children are given protein tins, soya milk, two packets of chikki and multigrain ladoos. In Colaba, a non-profit is providing 50 patients with nutritional supplement.
Doctors said that a better fed TB patient will recover faster. “It is not just medicines but also the person’s own immunity which is required to fight the bacteria. Hence, malnourished patients will not improve until their nutritional status is improved,” said a senior doctor at a medical college.