CHENNAI: Pop the pill and give a missed call - this is what the tuberculosis (TB) patients will be mandated to do in the State soon as an innovative patient monitoring scheme will soon be rolled out across the state.
Titled 99DOTS, under the scheme, a part of a toll-free number will be printed on the top of the blister pack and the rest of the number will be printed inside the strip, which can be seen only after removing the tablet. And the patient has to give a missed call to this number, to record that he has consumed the tablet. This makes it easy for the health workers to identify the patients who are skipping their dose.
The programm was launched by Union Health Minister J P Nadda recently in Delhi and the pilot projects were conducted in four Northern States and in Vellore and Namakkal districts of Tamil Nadu.
As the pilot project was a success, the officials are now planning to roll it across Tamil Nadu. On Wednesday, just a day ahead of the World TB day, the World Health Organisation officials conducted a training session on the programme at the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, Sanatorium. It is learnt that on Thursday, the scheme will be launched for the patients taking treatment in the Sanatorium hospital.
Speaking to Express, Dr A Lakshmi Murali, Tamil Nadu State Revised National Tuberculosis Programme Officer said the scheme would be extended subsequently to Salem, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Kancheepuram districts.
The most popular TB control, DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course), is a tuberculosis control strategy recommended by the World Health Organisation. Under DOTS, a regimen directly of six to nine months observed by a healthcare worker or community health worker for at least the first two months is given already.
“Under, 99DOTS, we aim to achieve 99 per cent of adherence to treatment,” said Dr Lakshmi Murali.
The official also said that the patient can not cheat the health workers as every month, clinical assessment on their health will be performed here and the patients will be tracked if they did not continue the medication. Also field health officers will do a random checks at patient’s house.
This programme is to make sure that all TB patients continue medication, which will stop deaths. Deaths in TB cases due to discontinuing of medicine is a major concern in the country.