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Maha health ministry and FDA join hands to intensify fight against TB

Laxmi Yadav, Mumbai
Monday, February 12, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Following the direction of Central Tuberculosis Division (CTD) of the ministry of health and family welfare, aiming to improve the collection of patient care information, Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra in collaboration with state food and drug administration (FDA) has stepped up efforts to sensitize the retail chemists at district level on maintaining Schedule H1 register containing records of patients, prescribers and drugs supplied and referring suspicious patients to district TB centre.

CTD direction is part of government's continuing efforts to eradicate TB from India by 2025.

A meeting was held between FDA officials and joint director of health (TB and Leprosy), Maharashtra in this regard last month. At the meet it was decided that FDA officials along with district TB officers would conduct a meeting with chemists in every district of the state and sensitize them on implementation of Schedule H1 to improve notification of TB patients.

As per Schedule H1, pharmacies are required to dispense anti TB drugs on prescription of a registered medical practitioner and maintain a separate register containing the name and address of the prescriber, the name of the patient, the name of the drug and the quantity supplied and such records shall be maintained for three years and be open for inspection.

A meeting between chemists, district TB officers and FDA officials was held in a number of districts including Aurangabad and Raigad. Maharashtra Registered Pharmacists Association (MRPA) has extended support to joint efforts by FDA and district TB officers to involve chemists in fight against TB.

The information collected in coordination with FDA officials will help TB officers initiate follow up action with providers and patients.

It is learned that private doctors often ignore to notify cases of TB, and negligence on the part of chemists in monitoring the sale of anti-TB drugs falling under Schedule H1 has hit the government's fight against the infectious disease.

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to all chief ministers asking them to conduct at least quarterly reviews of the TB control programme in their states.

According to the TB strategic plan, around 480,000 Indians die of TB every year. The country also has more than a million ‘missing’ cases every year that are not notified and most remain either undiagnosed or unaccountably and inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector.

Due to the missing cases, under-diagnosis and incomplete treatment, leading to drug resistance in TB bacteria, the central government made TB a mandatorily notifiable disease in 2012.In its Budget 2018 Union government has allocated additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment.

Said MRPA president, Kailash Tandale, “Chemists can play a crucial role in India's TB control and elimination programme. They are the first point of contact with the suspected cases and can play a significant role in referring them to the nearest sputum microscopy centers and contribute to the government's efforts to collect patient data and detect missing and under-diagnosis cases to curb drug resistant TB cases.”


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