The Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration (FDCA) has identified 2,419 TB patients who have not been covered under national TB programme. The state drug regulator’s finding is based on data collected from 469 retail drug stores in the state from May 1, 2020 to May 31.
Earlier, the state regulator had embarked on a massive drive to collect relevant data on patient’s therapeutic condition and other details in an effective way with the help of designated retail pharmacies which stock and sell medicines for TB patients.
One of the main hurdles for TB eradication is the inability to detect active cases from the community. The main objective of the monitoring exercise is to identify undetected cases from the community to prevent transmission.
This drive will help to check prevalence of TB in individuals who are not covered under Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS). Government of India’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) uses the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended DOTS strategy and reaches TB patients in 632 reporting units across the country.
“These cases detected have been forwarded to the concerned District TB Officer to ensure that private TB patients be brought under the government TB protection ambit for their speedy recovery. There are around 40,000 retail and wholesale pharmacies in the state of Gujarat,” according to Gujarat FDCA Commissioner Dr H G Koshia.
Central government through a gazette notification in March 2018 mandated that all pharmacies, chemists and druggists dispensing anti-TB medicines, shall notify respective TB patients along with details of medicines and maintain a copy of prescription, treating medical practitioner as per Schedule H1 of the Drugs And Cosmetics Rules, 1945 and shall furnish the same either electronically or in hard copy, to the nodal officer of the district or any officer authorised by nodal officer.
As per notification, list and contact details of the concerned state TB officers and district TB officers, shall be regularly updated by the central TB division of the Union health ministry and made available on www.tbcindia.gov.in and https://nikshay.gov.in. TB officers responsible for implementation of TB notification in their respective areas of jurisdiction and shall ensure that following action is taken by local public health staff of general health system of rural or urban local bodies on receipt of information on TB patient notification through hard copy or through online application named Nikshay.
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also recently released the Annual Tuberculosis Report 2020 and a joint monitoring Mission (JMM) report, a manual on Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to TB patients under NIKSHAY system, a training Module and the quarterly newsletter NIKSHAY Patrika.
The report stated that around 24.04 lakh TB patients have been notified in 2019, which amounts to a 14% increase in TB notification as compared to the year 2018. Due to easy availability of molecular diagnostics, proportion of children diagnosed with TB increased to 8% in 2019 compared to 6% in 2018. Provision of HIV testing for all notified TB patients increased from 67% in 2018 to 81% in 2019, stated the report.