Thousands with communicable diseases skip follow-ups

The BBMP Public Health Information and Epidemiological Cell’s report for 2019 says that at least 34,885 patients did not revisit a hospital for doctors to analyse their condition.

Even as communicable diseases remain a concern in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area, thousands never returned for a follow-up to help doctors make a diagnosis. 

The BBMP Public Health Information and Epidemiological Cell’s report for 2019 says that at least 34,885 patients did not revisit a hospital for doctors to analyse their condition.

Dr Venkatesh, Nodal officer, Public Health Information and Epidemiological Cell, explained that these patients have visited the hospital but did not come for a follow-up.

“Sometimes patients have flu-like symptoms. They don’t come back with reports,” he said.

“Sometimes they stay back when feeling better, or would’ve visited some other hospital. We’re unable to keep track of such cases and have categorised them as ‘any other disease’ that is seen in the BBMP area,” Dr Venkatesh added.

Speaking about the issue, Dr T S Prabhakar, director, department of health and family welfare, said most communicable diseases are treatable.

“A disease like gastroenteritis could be treated, but if a patient contracts H1N1, it could spread unless the patient is tested and given appropriate treatment.

“The patient could spread it to anyone in the community. Whoever is contracting the disease from him may not have immediate access to treatment. This will be dangerous to the community,” he said.

Dr H Paramesh, director, Lakeside Hospital, believes there is little to worry if the disease is self-limiting.

“When it’s just viral infections, patients get better by themselves. Such cases don’t come back for a follow-up treatment. The issue of patients not coming back for follow-up treatment is also prevalent in the private sector,” he said.

Better reporting

The BBMP has been gathering data from 450 hospitals from across the City to know the
incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

“With non-communicable diseases, we’re only able to get the number of patients who visited the healthcare facilities,” said Dr Venkatesh.

With a target of 1,000 hospitals, the BBMP’s health department is set to train more hospitals to report the cases. “This is essential to make interventions in the public health system, taking into account the incidence of certain diseases,” said Dr Venkatesh.

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