Free DOTS for drug resistant TB patients

Chandigarh: Haryana will soon become first state in north India and third in the country to provide free second line treatment to those tuberculosis (TB) patients who have become drug resistant.

The second line of treatment will be provided under Directly Observed Treatment (DOTS) Plus programme.

Stating this, the Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that in the first phase of DOTS Plus programme, seven districts of Rohtak, Panipat, Sonepat, Jind, Karnal, Jhajjar and Bhiwani would be included.

He further said that medicine worth Rs one lakh per multi-drug resistant patient would be provided free of cost with the help of central government.

The Chief Minister also informed that joint TB and HIV collaborative activities would soon be initiated in the state to address the problem of TB in HIV patients.

An HIV positive person has 50 to 60 per cent lifetime risk of developing TB as compared to HIV negative persons who has a 10 per cent life time risk of contracting the disease.

Hooda said that with a view to meet the challenge of TB control among multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), first a network of state level quality assured culture and drug sensitivity testing laboratories would be established.

"For this purpose, an Intermediate Reference Lab (IRL) has been established in public health laboratory at Karnal with trained microbiologist to conduct culture sensitivity test for Mycobactrium Tuberculosis, monitoring of the quality of microscopy and external quality assessment for the state," he said.

The IRL is ensuring proficiency of staff of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) for carrying out good quality diagnosis by providing technical training to district and sub district level Laboratory technicians and Senior Treatment Lab Supervisors.

The state Health Minister Kartar Devi said that with the implementation of the internationally recommended DOTS strategy, Haryana has now started getting good results in term of decreased morbidity and mortality rates.

She further informed that in the year 2007, death rate had decreased up to four per cent and failure rate up to five per cent.

Devi described TB as a multifaceted disease and urged the people to cooperate with the state health authorities in controlling TB.

The Health Minister said that in Haryana, under this programme, three medical colleges, 47 TB units, 209 microscopic centres and about 6,000 DOT centres were functioning, where more emphasis has been laid on sputum examination than X-ray.

She stated that free investigation and treatment was being provided by the government under direct supervision of DOT providers who could be health worker or community volunteer or anybody who would be acceptable, accessible and accountable to the health system.

Devi said that this programme has also achieved success in involving the other sectors in the programme like all Employees State Insurance (ESI) units, eight Railway Hospitals and eight jail hospitals, 373 private practitioners, 250 community volunteers, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), 40 NGOs and 500 Aanganwari workers.
—iGovernment Bureau

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