Mumbai: To make tuberculosis (TB) treatment more accessible, the BMC is planning to start centres at private hospitals for drug-resistant TB patients. The initiative is part of the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP). A senior official said they have invited expressions of interest and will hold a meeting with hospitals that are willing to start the centres.
Aim: Building a private-public partnership
A senior health official from the civic health department said the aim is to build private-public partnerships so that patients going to private hospitals can continue doing so and still benefit from the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) that provides free medicines.
“The cost of drugs for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) could go up to ₹25,000 per month and medicines have to be taken for two years without fail. Many patients start treatment in private set-ups but cannot afford it after a point,” he said.
The partnership will ensure that patients seeking care in the private sector also receive diagnostic, treatment, and patient care services as per standardised Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) guidelines.
Mumbai witnesses more than 5,000 MDR-TB tuberculosis cases every year
As per the civic body, every year more than 5,000 MDR-TB tuberculosis cases are recorded in Mumbai. In 2022, the city saw 5,758 cases; in 2021, it was 5,978 and 4,775 in 2020. In 2019 and 2018, there were 5,997 and 5,343 cases, respectively.
BMC Executive Health Officer Dr Mangala Gomare said the private hospitals under the initiative would charge regular consultation fees and ensure patients continue with the treatment under their supervision. “We have been working continuously on eradication programmes and several initiatives are underway, of which roping private hospitals is one of them. We will soon hold meetings with stakeholders to understand their response,” she said.
Among the other initiatives for MDR-TB patients, the BMC had started 23 adverse drug clinics that helped them bring down the loss to follow-up (LTFU) percentage down in the last five years from 16% to 2%. Most of the LTFU patients were due to adverse drug effects and 95% were minor problems like gastritis, allergic skin reaction and body ache.