It is affecting data collection and framing of policies, says official

Reluctance by private hospitals in the district in reporting cases of tuberculosis is affecting framing of policies to tackle the disease, said M. Sakthivel, Deputy Director of Medical Services (TB), here on Tuesday.

Of the 400 hospitals in the district, less than ten reported TB cases on a regular basis, he told The Hindu.

According to a Government Order dated May 7, 2012 by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all private doctors, caregivers, and clinics dealing with TB patients must report such cases to the government.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, the TB prevalence rate in India was 203/1,00,000 population. Going by this, Coimbatore, with its 35 lakh population, should be reporting between 7,100 and 7,300 cases a year. But only around 2,430 cases were being reported annually at present.

Many private institutions were reluctant to report TB cases for fear of losing patients. They were worried about the security of the data being sent too. Such fears were unfounded as the purpose to collect data was to formulate policies.

The Union Government provided assistance to all multi-drug resistant tuberculosis patients regardless of her taking treatment at government or private hospitals.

All data sent by the private hospitals would be uploaded to ‘Nikshay,’ an information communication technology application developed by the Union Government to provide real time surveillance of TB cases. Hospitals could send the details of the patient through e-mail (dtotncbe@rntcp.org), mobile phones, or could directly upload the information on to the Nikshay portal (http://nikshay.gov.in), said Mr. Sakthivel.