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Updated: December 28, 2012 12:06 IST

TB's new low needs balm

M. Sai Gopal
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in spite of being mandatory to notify TB cases to officials, private practitioners report these cases

Mandatory notification of Tuberculosis (TB) by private practitioners to the government authorities is yet to take off in Hyderabad and elsewhere in the State. The Government of India had made TB a notifiable disease in May of this year, which meant that it has become mandatory for private hospitals to report TB cases to authorities.

A notifiable disease is required by law to be reported to the government authorities, which will help them to monitor TB and track patient’s adherence to TB treatment.

However, TB control authorities here are hamstrung in implementing mandatory TB notification largely due to lack of awareness and cooperation from the private practitioners.

Authorities said that Medical Council of India (MCI) has given clear guidelines on notifiable disease. As per MCI code of Ethics (Rules & regulations 2002, Chapter 7, Point 7.7), a registered medical practitioner giving incorrect information on his name and authority about notification amounts to misconduct and such a medical practitioner is liable for deregistration.

There is a perception among private practitioners in Hyderabad that by notifying TB cases, they will attract unnecessary scrutiny and could even lose out patients to government-run Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS) TB control programme.

Authorities from Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), however, pointed out that efforts are on to drive home the message that notifying would only help in better TB surveillance. Many have also maintained that consistent awareness drives will help increase the practice of notifying TB cases.

“Mandatory TB notification will not impact private practice. Reporting TB cases is meant only to track adherence to TB treatment, proper diagnosis and rational use of anti-TB drugs. Cases of drug resistant TB are becoming frequent and they can be controlled by notifying TB,” Chairman, zonal task force, South zone, RNTCP, Dr. K. Subhakar.

Authorities said that they are working closely with A.P Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (APNA) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) to make TB notification a success. The APNA officials, on their part, maintained that efforts are on to convince private practitioners on the importance of TB notification.

“We are aware of this issue and we feel that notifying TB will not impact private practice. By notifying, private institutions will only help the government in fighting TB. We have asked our members to strictly notify TB cases,” maintains State president, APNA, Dr. R.S. Saluja.


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