Mumbai: Activists Slam Central TB Dept's Local Procurement Nod

Mumbai: Activists Slam Central TB Dept's Local Procurement Nod

Eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 looks distant amid the shortage of drugs across India.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 11:12 PM IST
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Mumbai: Activists Slam Central TB Dept's Local Procurement Nod | Representational Image

Eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 looks distant amid the shortage of drugs across India. The situation has forced the TB division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to issue a memorandum, asking all state officers to locally procure drug-sensitive TB drugs – DSTB-IP(A) and DSTB-CP(A) – so that patient care is not affected.

The activists, however, have slammed the central TB department for irresponsible and irregular procurement of drugs, which will make many patients drug resistant. 

As per the Central TB department’s circular, the procurement process has been completed at the national level and purchase orders have been issued to suppliers. The memorandum states that the supply of many anti-TB drugs and diagnostics has commenced and procurement of DSTB-IP(A) and DSTB CP (A) is at an advanced stage, though there can be a delay “due to unforeseen and extraneous circumstances”.

TB survivor and activist Ganesh Acharya has blamed the central division and said that it “cannot play with the lives of patients”, leaving them in the lurch without medicines. “It is easy to say procure drugs at the local level, but they are unaware of the ground reality about non-availability and expiry of stocks,” he said.

Acharya said that leaving procurement to the local division for three months can be a disaster for public health. “The number of TB patients is huge in Maharashtra. Over 2.26 lakh people rely on anti-TB drugs. Moreover, it is unbelievable that there is a shortage of funds under the National Health Mission,” he said. BMC’s executive health officer Daksha Shah was unavailable to comment on the situation in Mumbai.

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