The Tamil Nadu government’s flagship scheme Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam(MTM) may be drawn up on a door-to-door screening model for early detection and treatment of non communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, but health officials have now raised a key necessity that needs to be put in place, to achieve disease control: diagnosed persons should visit the nearest Primary Health Centre (PHC) once in two months to get their parameters checked.
As per the Health Department MTM’s coverage so far has been: 1,00,49,180 persons covered for first-time services and 2,93,22,468 persons under repeat services, as of May 5.
Through MTM, which was launched in August 2021, a home-based healthcare services for line-listed beneficiaries is provided. These include the delivery of drugs for hypertension and diabetes, as well as palliative care, physiotherapy services and Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis services. Once persons are screened and identified as having diabetes and hypertension, they are given medications after the confirmation of the diagnosis, by medical officers. The drug initiation is done as per protocols, officials said.
“MTM has reached its maximum numbers, and it is time to concentrate on the real control of diabetes and hypertension. For regular treatment, persons identified through doorstep screening should visit PHCs once in two months and check if their levels (sugar levels, blood pressure) are under control. Some people are under the assumption that everything will be done at their doorsteps,” T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said.
Every person identified should get their blood sugar and blood pressure levels checked once in two months to see if their medications need to be changed or the dosages altered, he said. He also said that women health volunteers, who are involved in the door-to-door screening, would not be able to do this sort of testing at the doorstep of people.
“The ultimate aim for non communicable diseases is better control. To prevent complications and achieve real control, patients need to be checked periodically at health facilities,” he added.