In the last few months, State TB Cell put in efforts to build enough stock for patients across the State
Hyderabad: The second wave of the pandemic and the rapid rise of new infections have posed fresh challenges to the tuberculosis eradication programme in Telangana. However, despite difficulties in availability of manpower and diagnostics, the State TB Cell has made sure that tuberculosis patients here continue to have access to medicines.
Senior State TB authorities have said they had anticipated logistical difficulties in transportation of life-saving TB drugs due to Covid pandemic across the country. As a result, in the last few months, efforts were to build enough stock of TB drugs, which are administered under the Directly Observed Therapy Short Term (DOTS) therapy. Thanks to these efforts, there is enough stock of TB drugs to last for next few months for the TB patients across the State.
Under the DOTS regimen, all TB patients across the State receive their daily drugs through local DOTS agent in the districts. “The Senior Treatment Supervisor (STS) in the district has a database of patients who need TB drugs and they have enough stock of TB drugs to last for months,” senior officials said.
Apart from ensuring enough drug stocks, the State TB authorities have recently established a panel of doctors drawn from various disciplines to guide patients recovers from difficult to treat TB. Patients suffering from drug resistant TB, extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis (X-DRTB) and multiple drug resistant TB (MD-RTB), find it difficult to recover from their medical condition.
There are patients who also have comorbid conditions like heart, liver and kidney ailments that have the potential to make recovery difficult for them. A large number of TB positive individuals are also testing Covid positive, which makes the recovery even more complicated. Senior TB officials in Hyderabad said that the mortality among such TB patients is quite high, as they struggle to deal with multiple health complications.
“We now have an exclusive panel of expert doctors who will review each and every difficulty to treat TB case and prescribe personalised treatment regimen to them. The aim is to ensure such patients also get a fair chance to recover from TB. Moreover, during the ongoing Covid pandemic, such a panel will be helpful in treatment of TB patients who have tested positive,” doctors said.
While existing TB patients are assured of steady supply of TB drugs, the Covid pandemic has impacted fresh notifications of TB positive cases.
On an average, every year close to 65,000 TB cases are notified across Telangana out of which roughly 15,000 to 20,000 cases are from Hyderabad. “Due to the pandemic situation, the entire staff of the TB department including lab technicians are on Covid duty,” doctors said.
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