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TB screening centre at CMC soon

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, DEC. 13. The Cooperative Medical College (CMC) will soon open a microscopy centre to screen tuberculosis and provide free treatment based on the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).

The TB centre has already started conducting tests and medicines will also be provided to the patients from this centre after a formal inauguration. The Kochi branch of Indian Medical Association is also trying to get more private hospitals to participate in the programme.

Private participation

The revised TB control programme, started in 2000, had invited private participation for controlling the spread of TB. The district so far has 13 private hospitals implementing the RNTCP.

The district TB Hospital at Karuvelipady, refers patients to these hospitals and are willing to pay for the treatment.

If the private hospitals participating in the programme are willing to provide free treatment for the patients, the Government provides all the laboratory consumables for them and the medicines.

Altogether there are 51 microscopy centres in the district of which 29 are in the Government sector. There are four medical laboratories that conduct the sputum test.

All these centres conduct the sputum test called Acid Fast Bacilli, which screens TB. A TB unit visits these centres time to time to keep a check on the quality of tests conducted, said Vinod Paulose, the District TB Officer.

DOTS

Medicine is given under the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) so that the patient does not miss out on the dose.

DOTS is a 5-pronged strategy for TB control which makes sure that the TB patient has a regular and uninterrupted supply of the prescribed TB drugs for six to eight months.

Intake of drugs for the full course is important for the complete cure and DOTS programme intends to ensure it, Dr. Paulose said.

Cough related to TB subsides shortly after the treatment begins which makes the patient irregular in taking the full course of drugs.

In such cases where the patient discontinues the full course of treatment, patient tends to develop immunity towards the drug that fails to act on the bacteria causing TB when it is consumed again, ultimately leading to the death of the patient.

TB spreads by air through an infected person and a single person can infect 10 or more people in a year.

TB cases

Ever since the RNTCP was launched, there have been 11,315 cases till September 2004. According to a survey conducted by the National TB Institute, Bangalore, the annual risk of TB infection is 75 cases per lakh a year.

Dr. Paulose said that with these statistics, the district manages to achieve a target of only 50 per cent against a target of 70 per cent achievement in screening and providing treatment. Since people here prefer to go to private clinics, more participation by private hospitals is required.

He said that any person who has persistent cough for more than three weeks should get their sputum tested.

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