Panjim, February 15, 2019: In a major initiative to end the tuberculosis menace in Goa, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), a national voluntary organisation of doctors of the modern scientific system of medicine, highlighted various efforts they have undertaken to achieve the Government of India’s vision to ‘End TB’. The IMA’s initiatives are part of a joint collaboration with the government to reach out to every private doctor, and through them, every TB patient in Goa.
As per the Government TB Report in 2018, Goa had notified 2,507 TB patients. As compared to 2017, the State notified 516 additional cases in 2018. The notifications from the private sector improved as additional 175 cases were notified by private doctors in 2018. There was 25 percent improvement in notification by private sector in 2018.
The IMA with the Central TB Division (CTD), GOI has been making joint efforts to expand notification of TB cases by doctors in the private sector, as notification is an important tool to achieve universal coverage and succeed in the fight against the dreaded disease.
Under the IMA End TB Project, Continuous Medical Education Programmes (CMEs) is being conducted for IMA members for standards of TB care in India, to improve notification of TB patients from private providers, establish linkages for expanding diagnosis and treatment in line with standards of care and thereby enhancing the quality TB care to TB patients.
Addressing the media, Dr. Anil Mehndiratta, President, Goa State Branch IMA, said, “The State IMA is informing private doctors of the various facilities made available by the government under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) for the benefit of patients seeking care from private sector, including free diagnosis, drugs and NIKSHAY Poshan Yojana under which every TB patient gets Rs.500/- per month towards nutrition support till completion of treatment. We are also conducting targeted CMEs to sensitise private doctors on newer updates in management of TB.”
The State has established 21 microscopy centres, two Cartridge-based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT). A Intermediate Reference laboratory (IRL) at Bambolim monitors the quality assurance of all microscopy centres and CBNAAT and IRL Liquid Culture Laboratory Services shall be functional soon. Also, free CBNAAT tests is done for presumptive TB cases and for all diagnosed, notified TB patients from both public and private sector. There is a mobile van equipped with CBNAAT stationed in Hospicio Hospital, Margao.
One Nodal Drug resistance TB centre at Taligao and one District Drug Resistant TB Centre at South Goa District hospital initiates drug-resistant patients on Second Line TB drugs. Newer regime like shorter regimen and H monopoly drug regimen have been initiated for eligible drug-resistant TB patients in the State. First-line Daily Regimen (FDCs) is provided for all drug-sensitive TB patients which is available even for private sector TB patients free of cost.
The State of Goa has made consistent efforts to leverage upon the above initiatives within the local context and accelerate uptake of these strategies with systematic monitoring and supervision which has resulted in increased case of diagnosis of TB cases.
In Goa, IMA is regularly monitoring TB notifications and all districts have conducted meetings with Drug Control Officers and Chemist Associations. In addition, IMA is taking innovative steps to promote the NIKSHAY app and incentives to improve notification from the private sector. The IMA is working to galvanise doctors in the private sector to increase notification and work toward the cause of ending TB by optimal utilisation of NIKSHAY.
NIKSHAY, a useful phone app that allows doctors to notify TB patients through a simple interface also helps in TB patient management and care. NIKSHAY has been upgraded to a more user friendly version 2.0 that is compatible with both web-based and app-based platforms. Private doctors can also use other methods including the Government’s call centre at 1800-11-6666 for notification of TB patients and for support and more information. To encourage doctors to use the NIKSHAY app for notifications, the government has also introduced an incentive scheme for doctors at Rs. 500/- on TB notifications and Rs. 500/- on the report of treatment outcome.