BMC starts treating drug-resistant tuberculosis patients on OPD basis

Updated: Feb 09, 2019, 16:10 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

The initiative has kicked off in two civic hospitals and two city clinics; Sewri TB hospital registers record 50 patients in 45 days for treatment with bedaquiline

BMC starts treating drug-resistant tuberculosis patients on OPD basis
The Sewri TB Hospital has seen a rise in registrations by patients with drug-resistant TB since the new rule was implemented. File pic

The Sewri TB hospital has registered a record 50 drug-resistant patients in 45 days on OPD basis, for treatment with the bedaquiline drug. Earlier, as per the norms, drug-resistant tuberculosis patients had to stay in hospitals for the first 15 days after being prescribed bedaquiline, for health analysis. But thanks to the new rule, TB patients can get this expensive treatment on Outpatient Department (OPD) basis.

Boon for patients
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided that these patients can be administered the medicine on OPD basis. This decision has come as a boon for patients from the lower income strata, especially daily-wage earners, who resisted being admitted. Last year, when the OPD facility was absent, the hospital could register only 50 patients.

A 32-year-old truck driver from Sion was diagnosed with second-stage drug resistant TB three months back. The only hope of cure he had was bedaquiline, but he needed to be admitted for 15 days for health diagnosis. As a daily wage earner, he couldn't afford to do so until the new OPD system started at the civic-run Sewri TB hospital.

"I work as a truck driver and earn around R300-400 on a daily basis. My family is in Lucknow and I send them money every month. So I couldn't afford to get admitted for 15 days in the hospital. In fact, a doctor had told me that I might need to stay for more days depending on my condition," said the driver.

Later he registered with the hospital for treatment on OPD basis. It has been over a month that he has been consuming the restricted bedaquiline drug (it can only be administered with government permission). "When I was told that I didn't have to get admitted, I enrolled for the OPD treatment. In the first 15 days, I had
to go to the hospital twice for checkup every day, so it didn't affect my daily work," he added.

Official speak
According to the earlier process, patients with drug-resistant TB had to get admitted for a minimum of 15 days for health analysis, as this deadly disease affects the functioning of the lungs.

"This often discourages patients to get registered for the bedaquiline drug. It was extremely tough to convince them. In the past one year, we had admitted around 50-60 people for the drug. But since last December when the OPD system started, in the past 45 days, we have registered 50 patients for bedaquiline drug," said Dr Lalit Anande, medical superintendent of the hospital.

The new process has been adopted in the city following its success rate in Delhi. Patients have to visit our hospital twice a day for checkups. Later, we inform the nearby TB centre where they can take their bedaquiline drug. In fact, through social workers, the medicines are delivered to their doorstep also," said Anande.

Dr Daksha Shah, head of the TB Cell, BMC, who was sent to Delhi to see the initiative there said, "The BMC has implemented treatment for drug-resistant TB patients on OPD basis at the Sewri TB Hospital, Shatabdi Hospital and two civic clinics. We will implement it in other places. Under this initiative, the BMC had also appointed extra doctors and nurses at the Sewri TB Hospital."

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