Private practitioners in the district have to notify incidences of TB that they come across to the designated local authorities in the government.
District TB Control officer Dr Raja Sivanandam said the government, through the TB Notification Act 1939, has made it mandatory for private practitioners to notify cases of the disease. “This is to assess the actual disease burden for planning resources and strategy to contain and prevent the disease,” he added.
They could notify directly on the official website www.tbcindia.nic, call 8220207209 between 8 am and 6 pm, email the district TB officer at email@example.com or fill up the particulars of TB patients in the prescribed form at the TB control centre.
Raja Sivanandam said the national TB programme was initiated in 1962 and later the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) was being implemented since 1993. The RNTCP was introduced in Vellore in 2001. Despite best efforts taken by the government to control the spreading of TB, new cases were being reported. This was due to the fact that in TB, unlike HIV, the causative bacilli spreads in air through droplet infection. The issue of defaulting by contravening the treatment protocol, which is for six to eight months, is considered to be one of the biggest challenges in TB control. On account of default by TB patients, the bacillary mutate and gave rise to multi-drug resistant TB.
The issue of HIV infection also continued to pose a challenge to TB control as it constitutes the most important opportunistic infection in those infected with HIV. The combination of TB and HIV continues to be the leading cause of death among the HIV infected patients. The important issue was the under-reporting of TB cases by private doctors. While the TB patients receiving treatment through the government facilities were being monitored, similar cases dealt with by the private practitioners went unreported. This posed problems in exactly quantifying the TB cases present in the community and the actual disease burden. This is where the mandatory notification would help, Raja Sivanandam added.
Vellore has been doing well in controlling TB, detecting new sputum positive cases, sputum conversion rate, and the cure rate, which is in consistence with the objective of RNTCP. An ideal system requires that a minimum of 85 per cent of patients who are started on a treatment course for 6 to 8 months should get cured. Vellore district is maintaining this bench mark at 87 per cent. With the cooperation of the private practitioners the cure rate could be much higher, he said further.
Raja Sivanandam said private practitioners and members of the Indian Medical Association of the district would convene a meeting on Tuesday, chaired by collector Sankar here. Dr H Shivaramakrishna Reddy, WHO consultant, would give details about TB notification while Dr Pricilla Snehalatha, senior TB medical officer would update on multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.