Non-supply of TB medicines hits patients in Rayagada, Ganjam districts

Official sources said while 5,451 TB cases were detected in 2021, the number went up to 6,466 in 2022 and 6,698 in 2023.
Representative Image
Representative Image

BERHAMPUR: Non-supply of medicines for treatment of tuberculosis for the last over a month in Ganjam and Rayagada districts have put the patients in a tough situation.

Sources said the Centre, under its Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan’ scheme, supplies TB medicines to all states under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP). However, the supply from the Centre has stopped since the last almost three months reportedly due to unavailability of medicines.

As per information, vital medicines for the disease include two months administration of Isoniazid, Rifampicin, Ethambutol and Pyrazinamide followed by two months of three other drugs. However, their non-supply have forced many patients to skip their doses which medical practitioners say, is strongly discouraged.

The situation is rather grim in Rayagada district with even the stock getting exhausted at the district headquarters hospital (DHH). The district had reported around 698 cases of TB in the last six months of which 152 patients are undergoing treatment at the DHH.

Family members of the patients complained that while Asha workers do not have the requisite medicines, even local clinics and medicine shops have been restricted for selling these medicines owing to restriction imposed by the government. As a result, condition of many patients is deteriorating.

Chief district medical officer Dr Lalmohan Routray said the state government is unable to supply the TB medicines due to the scarcity. “We had apprised about the situation to the higher authorities and they advised us to procure the medicines from other districts. But since the demand is high, the medicines are almost always unavailable,” he said.

Meanwhile in Ganjam, district tuberculosis officer Dr Abani Kumar Patra said the district presently has sufficient stock for a month. But if the medicines don’t reach the patients, it can be a problem, he said.

“The death rate due to TB has reduced from 353 in 2021 to 319 in 2022 and 224 in 2023. Unhygienic conditions, migration and weak immunity are the prime reasons for spread of the disease. Migrant workers, particularly, are potential carriers of TB apart from AIDS. We have appointed 42 TB survivors to inform and sensitise people of the disease, ways to prevent it and ensure timely administration of medicines,” Dr Patra informed.

Incidentally, Ganjam has recorded a rise in TB cases in the last few years. Official sources said while 5,451 TB cases were detected in 2021, the number went up to 6,466 in 2022 and 6,698 in 2023. Similar is the case with AIDS.

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