Mumbai: BMC ignores statistics as study shows 2,638 people dropped out of TB treatment

RTI information shows that enrolment for DOTS treatment has dropped drastically while dengue cases have gone up by 265%

Even as the state government is leaving no stone unturned to check the spread of TB and dengue, it appears the patients are not doing their bit and dropping out at an alarming rate - 10 per cent - from the DOTS treatment. And according to information acquired by an NGO using RTI, we are not doing much better on the dengue front either, as though there was a 265 per cent in dengue cases, four wards have not registered any cases over confusion on test result validity.

DOTS defaulters
According to the data accessed by Praja Foundation, DOTS -the flagship government programme to tackle TB - has seen a drastic drop in the enrolment of patients. In 2012, 30,828 patients were registered to the yearlong programme.

In 2016, there were only 15,767 new enrolments. But an even more dangerous proposition is the increasing number of defaulters on a year-on-year basis.

Compared to 2,638 that dropped out in 2012, in 2016, a much higher number of people by comparison - 2,927 that makes for a 10 per cent hike - defaulted out of the programme.

"Dropping out of DOTS treatment can lead to the development of drug-resistant TB. TB has always been a big health issue for Mumbai and the BMC has failed to implement the TB programme properly," said Milind Mhaske, from Praja.

However, Dr Daksha Shah, head of TB department of BMC, countered it with another spin.

She said, "The dropout rate provided by the NGO is incorrect. Moreover, due to our awareness programmes and initiatives, people are getting more aware about TB and coming forward for treatment at an early stage without having to register for DOTS."

Dengue validity
The survey also states that in the past five years, there has been a 265 per cent rise in cases of dengue. While in 2012, 4,867 cases were recorded, in 2016, it had leapt up to 17,771 with the highest number of cases in three wards- K/E (224), L (144) and R/N (108). Even the number of dengue deaths has doubled from 77 in 2012 to 148 in 2016.

However, interestingly, four wards have registered zero cases because they don't accept the RAPID test as accurate data to identify dengue.

"The issue has been going on for years that as RAPID blood test often doesn't show the real result of dengue, it was suggested - even at the union ministry level - to prohibit it. Finally, last year, the state government issued a circular, despite which the BMC continues to use it to identify dengue cases," said an expert on infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of public health committee, Rohini Kamble, said, "We need to verify the data before commenting on it. I don't know on what bases this NGO is making the claims. BMC is doing everything to make people aware about diseases and report them in the early stages. All wards are under the BMC lens."

BMC health officer Dr Padmaja Kesker remained unable for comment.

30,828
Approx patients registered to DOTS in 2012

2,638
DOTS defaulters in 2012

4,867
Cases of dengue in 2012

15,767
Approx patients registered to DOTS in 2016

2,927
DOTS defaulters in 2016

17,771
Approx cases of dengue in 2016

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