KERALA

Private doctors to join TB control programme

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 24. About 600 doctors from the private sector will join hands with the Government to implement the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in their hospitals.

This unique model of public-private cooperation in the health sector has been made possible through the public health initiative of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which has been encouraging private practitioners to join hands with the Government for total control of the disease in the community.

The 600 doctors trained in the RNTCP regimen by the IMA in the first phase were given certificates at a function held here to mark the World TB Day on Thursday.

Monitoring

In the second phase of its project, the IMA will take up the responsibility of monitoring private health institutions that have joined the national TB control programme, the president of IMA, P.K. Mohammed Rasheed, and the national coordinator for RNTCP, R.V. Ashokan, said.

Tuberculosis control in the community would be possible only by encouraging more private hospitals to implement the RNTCP, which ensures that all TB patients have a uniform and standard regimen and that every patient has regular follow-up till he is cured of the disease.

Proper treatment regimen was important in the case of tuberculosis, as incomplete treatment or laxity in taking drugs would result in the patient developing drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, which is highly infectious and fatal.

Almost 70 per cent of the TB cases are still treated by the private sector and the details regarding these patients remain unknown. This was affecting the overall tuberculosis detection rate in the State, which was much lower than the national average.

Once the private hospitals come under the fold of the national tuberculosis control programme, the detection rates would improve. Already in Wayanad district, the number of private health centres implementing the drug regimen of RNTCP has gone up three-fold in the past one year after the IMA began its programme to sensitise the private sector, Dr. Rasheed and Dr. Ashokan said.

The IMA has demanded that a State TB Officer be appointed full time to take charge of the implementation of the tuberculosis control programme. It has also appealed to the Government to extend financial assistance to its doctors' training programme, which will continue this year also.

Minister's plea

Public health interventions which are intended to deliver better health care should not be opposed blindly, the Minister for Health, K.K. Ramachandran, has said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the `World TB Day' programmes organised by the State TB Cell here on Thursday. Mr. Ramachandran said that the State taken adequate measures to implement the tuberculosis control programme.

The Director of Health Services, B. Mahilamani, presided over the programme. The District TB Medical Officer, V. J. Joseph, the District Medical Officer, E.K. Madhavan, the Senior State Vice-President of the Indian Medical Association, G. Vijayakumar, among others, spoke on the occasion.

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