Health ministry to make it mandatory to set up MDR TB centres at all govt hospitals as patient numbers surge
The Central government is getting ready to make it mandatory for all government medical colleges and hospitals in the country to set up multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis centres. The health ministry has recently made the proposal to the Medical Council of India (MCI) as the number of people suffering from drug resistant TB is climbing steadily. In a letter to the MCI, the health secretary requested the council to incorporate the obligatory requirement of establishing MDR-TB centre for treatment initiation of patients as per revised national TB control programme guidelines at each medical college for recognition of medical college. According to official data, as many as 1.5 lakh people in India are suffering from MDR TB.
Once the proposal is implemented, it will be mandatory for all the government medical colleges and hospitals to set up such centres for obtaining recognition from MCI. India, with 27.9 lakh tuberculosis cases, 4.23 lakh disease-related deaths, and an average of 211 new infections diagnosed per 100,000 people, has the highest number of TB patients in the world. There are 147 MDR-TB treatment centres in the country at present, and the new clause is expected to help create enough centres for treatment.
According to the central government’s TB India Report 2018, the country saw 18,27,959 TB patients in 2017, of which 1,92,458 were from Maharashtra. Mumbai saw 45,675 TB patients in 2017, and the average rise in TB patients in Mumbai is 30 per cent every year.
The ministry has recently made non-reporting of TB cases to the government a criminal offence to get a more realistic picture of the disease’s incidence and prevalence in the country and help track the ‘missing million’ unregistered or undetected patients. As per the new regulations, clinical establishments, including those in the private sector, will face punitive action if they fail to notify TB cases to the local public health authority District Health Officer or Chief Medical Officer. Moreover, all pharmacies, chemists and druggists dispensing anti-TB medications must provide details of the patient, prescription and medical practitioner concerned to the nodal officer of the district failing which action will be taken against them.
TB has been a notifiable disease in the country since 2012. But the reporting was not mandatory and pharmacists or chemists were not included.