VELLORE: The Vellore TB Control unit in association with Microsoft Research Group (Bangalore) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched an electronic monitoring system on Thursday to ensure that HIV-TB patients do not miss taking their medication, critical for patients infected with TB and HIV. The ‘medication adherence’ system together with the GeneXpert machine to detect TB rapidly among HIV patients that was introduced in March will ensure HIV-TB patients are getting the best possible care in Vellore.
A first in the State, the electronic monitoring system aims to address the problem of patients not taking medicines regularly, thereby becoming potential carriers of the disease endangering the general public.
Under this system, HIV-TB patients are given medication packed in a special envelope with dosage instru-
ction and telephone numbers behind each of the pills. Each time a patient takes a dose, the number behind the pill is revealed and the patient is instructed to give a missed call to the number, which is taken note of by the central server at the DOTS centre. Those who do not call are reminded to take medication by the DOTS staff.
District TB Control Officer Dr Rajasivanandam said that the pilot project which is essentially a low-cost electronic monitoring system, was introduced in Vellore to monitor around 120 patients suffering from both HIV and TB, receiving DOTS drugs from the government Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centre at the Vellore Government Medical College. Directly Observed Treatment Short course is a strategy recommended by the WHO that emphasizes fixed-dose drug combinations under observation to facilitate adherence to treatment and to reduce the risk of the development of drug resistance.
Dr Delfina, technical consultant to WHO based in Vellore said that the project is being field tested in 30 ART centres across the country out of which 8 are in TN, Vellore being one of them.