Hyderabad: The doorstep delivery of drugs for hypertensives and diabetics in Telangana has been working effectively and benefitting patients.
Under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), all adults aged more than 30 years are screened for non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes and common cancers like oral, cervical and breast. So far, approximately 1.10 crore adults have been screened for the above diseases and around 10.98 lakh hypertensives and 5.50 lakh diabetics have been diagnosed and put on treatment.
Earlier, free drugs were given to patients on a monthly basis at the PHC level but with technical support of WHO and ICMR under the India Hypertension Control Initiative, decentralisation was initiated in Telangana, for the first time in the country, the monthly followup services of blood pressure and blood sugar check-up and drug refills were gradually shifted to the sub-centre level, through the ANM. This helped patients avoid the long distance travel to PHCs, especially for the elderly.
However, due to the lockdown, patients were unable to get the drugs initially as public transport was affected. To solve this, a decision was taken to deliver drugs on a monthly basis by the ANM to the doorstep of patients itself, as per the vision of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao.
This method has been working effectively and the number of patients receiving treatment in the government sector which was 6.5 lakh in March increased to 8.27 lakh in April and is estimated to be 9 lakh by May. To ensure personal protection against Covid-19, the State is also supplying all the 17 lakh patients with two masks each and educating them to practice physical distancing.
This shows that more than half of the total patients are currently receiving treatment showcasing the success of decentralisation, especially during the lockdown scenario. As patients with hypertension and diabetes are at risk of developing complications when infected with Covid-19, they have been advised to stay indoors and this approach of bringing the treatment to the peoples’ doorsteps has become a boon to the patients.
Apart from Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare, officials including Chief Programme Officer, State NCD team, WHO team, District NCD team, ANMs & ASHAs on the field have been involved in the initiative. The government hopes the proportion of patients receiving treatment from the government sector will soon reach more than 60 per cent, a milestone in India.
After lockdown was announced, 60-year-old Mididoddi Lachamma from Ichulapally of Warangal who was diagnosed hypertensive was worried about getting her medicines. “I feared running out of drugs and the consequences of that, but thanks to the government initiative, I am getting drugs from ASHAs and ANMs,” she said.
ANM Esthera shared her experiences of distributing the medicine and said, “We travelled for 30 to 40 minutes on my moped to distribute drugs to all the hypertensive and diabetic patients to protect them from complications and keep them safe during these hard times”.
Dialysis during Covid
During the lockdown, the Telangana government took measures to ensure uninterrupted availability of dialysis treatment services to needy patients. Apart from informing all treating hospitals to issue medical certificate to patients undergoing treatment for dialysis and Thalassemia for use as passes, vehicles were allocated for facilitating transport of patients to hospitals.
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