Tuberculosis surveillance to cover 70 vulnerable areas in Mumbai from August 1
Around 35,000-40,000 people are diagnosed with TB every year in Mumbai but health workers said certain patients could be missing treatment and spreading the diseasemumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2017 23:57 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has identified 70 areas that are vulnerable to tuberculosis (TB) and created a team of 374 health officers for ‘door-to-door’ surveys to identify patients.
TB has become a major public health concern in Mumbai after private facilities reported a 75% increase in TB cases in 2016. Around 35,000-40,000 people are diagnosed with TB every year in the city but health workers said certain patients could be missing treatment and spreading the disease. The surveillance project will cover nine lakh residents in areas identified as vulnerable to the disease. The programme will locate patients who fell out of the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course) scheme or haven’t yet been diagnosed.
Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC, said the program will start on August 1 and will go on for 15 days. “There are many areas in the city where people are not aware about the disease and that’s the reason cases aren’t diagnosed on time. The teams will go to every house, create awareness, collect sputum samples and offer X-ray test coupons to residents,” she said.
However, Dr Imran Farooq, deputy director (TB) with PATH, an international NGO that has been working with the BMC to improve coordination with private facilities since 2013, said close to 30% cases from private facilities still go unreported.
Officials are claiming that the program will ensure the number of tuberculosis patients goes up so that the disease can be contained in time and resistance doesn’t grow. The BMC’s public health department recently released a report on the growing health problem in the city that showed a 21% rise in the number of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases in 2016 compared to 2015.
MDR TB cases are difficult to treat as patients do not respond to two of the most powerful first line anti-TB drugs Isoniazid and Rifampicin. This makes the treatment longer and results in higher mortality.
A total of 4,347 cases of MDR TB have been reported across public and private hospitals in 2016, compared to 3,608 cases in 2015.