They can source necessary drugs from the Government

Given the strong presence of private hospitals in Coimbatore district, the Health Department has formulated a strategy to involve them in combating tuberculosis.

According to Government estimates, only around 55 per cent of TB patients in the district were now availing themselves of treatment with the Government health centres.

According to G. Elangovan, Joint Director of Health and Medical Services, willing private hospitals would be provided the necessary drugs to treat patients. And those hospitals not in need of such help would have to report the cases they treat, so that the Government could have a clear data on the incidence of the disease in the district.

The hospitals could provide the information through an online system called ‘Nikshay Registration.’ A meeting with private hospitals in Coimbatore have already held on this subject, he added

He informed that the upcoming World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, would be utilised to create awareness on the various State Government schemes for helping TB patients and encourage private medical practitioners to join effort.

As this communicable disease was found primarily among the socio-economically weaker sections of society, Dr. Elangovan said that the ultimate objective of the Government was ensuring universal access to TB treatment.

Towards this direction, TB patients of all economic categories could obtain the drugs free of cost from all the Government health facilities, right from the Government Hospitals at district headquarters to primary health centres and other health sub-centres. Diagnosis was also performed free of cost.

The treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) patients would work to a total of Rs. 2 lakh at least. This expenditure was borne completely by the Government for the patients availing treatment at State-run healthcare facilities.

DOT

M. Sakthivel, Deputy Director of Medical Services (TB), said that to ensure patients were properly taking their dosage of drugs, he said that the concept of Direct Observed Treatment (DOT) has been put in place. This strategy called for recruiting volunteers from the local community who would deliver the drugs to the patient’s doorstep and administer the drugs. Upon successful completion of the TB treatment, which usually takes six months, the volunteer will be given an incentive of Rs. 250, he said.

With the district’s population being around 35 lakh, he said that Coimbatore had seven TB units, in the ratio of one for every five lakh population. Each of these units had around 250 DOT volunteers.