BMC all geared up to tackle TB in city

Feb 26, 2013, 22:43 IST | Naveen Nair

Authorities from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), World Health Organisation (WHO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, National Tuberculosis Institute (NTI), Central TB Division (CTD), several non-governmental organisations (NGO) and private practitioners came together and brainstormed for two days in an attempt to prepare a blueprint for tackling multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

After the two-day session they have come to a consensus that it is crucial to increase their efforts to tackle the MDRTB by beginning to identify the largely affected areas in the city.

These agencies have identified the most important areas and have decided to concentrate their efforts to address MDRTB and TB in the slum and slum like areas in a city like Mumbai. Private practitioners not notifying governmental TB agencies about the TB cases that come to their notice first is the primary concern for BMC.

Though there are several doctors belonging to different medical practices, practicing in slum and slum-like areas, they lack the necessary knowledge in tackling the TB problem. Many of these doctors are quacks, claimed BMC authorities.

However, there are plans of roping in the lot of genuine doctors to assist the BMC in keeping a tab on the number of TB cases in such areas and providing them with necessary treatment.

Dr Srinivasan Nair, from World Health Organisation (WHO India) said, “We have come up with more comprehensive plans in past two days to tackle the problem of TB in urban areas. The Mumbai plan has a great potential for being an ideal model for tackling urban TB.”

Authorities admitted that they had learnt their lessons in January 2012 and have decided on setting up clear plans for prevention of MDRTB. This plan includes early diagnostics, setting up health centres for door to door check up for TB victims, focusing on slums and slum like areas and educational programmes for slum dwellers.

They claimed that the main problem with TB patients is that after continuing medication for about two weeks when these patients feel better, they refrain from continuing the medication. This results in relapse of TB. There are proposed plans for building a TB department and upgrading the TB hospital in Sewri as a Centre of Excellence.

Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC, Manisha Mhaiskar said, “We have combined our resources and ideas to provide or make quality TB care accessible to each citizen affected with the disease in the city. We have broadly outlined five themes, which we think will form the basis of our blueprint, which will be ready before the World TB Day that’s coming up next month.”

Executive health officer, BMC, Dr Arun Bamne said, “About 60 per cent (70-75 lakh) of the population in the city resides in slums and slum like areas. TB being an infectious disease that spreads through air, we have to concentrate our efforts on the slum like areas.”

“In addition the BMC is also in the process of acquiring high-end diagnostic machines like Gene Xpert in five more hospitals across the city by the end of 2013. They will be setup in hospitals like Shatabdi hospital, Cooper hospital, Sewri TB hospital and three tertiary hospitals in the city. We are also proposing a plan to setup these machines in each ward by the end of 2015,” said Mhaiskar.

Director of NTI, Dr Prahlad Kumar said, “It is laudable the way the BMC has approached the issue of TB. We in these two days have discussed about including local doctors in the fight against TB. We also need to strengthen the lab services and sensitise the community about the issue. We also discussed on how to link the public and private healthcare units for a joint effort against TB.”

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