Tuberculosis patients may get free medicines: RNTCP

 “We have held talks with major drug companies in an effort to offer free medical facilities to tuberculosis patients in India,” said Dr Ashok Kumar, deputy director general, Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).

Speaking after inaugurating the two-day zonal task force (ZTF) workshop on Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) for medical college faculties of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh here on Monday, he said as many as five major TB drug companies have come forward to offer drugs at a uniform price.

This is an attempt made by the RNTP to provide free medicines to TB patients. 
India tops the list of high burden TB-affected patients globally.

Around 2.3 million new cases are registered annually (185 cases per one lakh population) with prevailing 3.1 million cases killing 0.32 million people annually (26 deaths per one lakh population).

It is embarrassing to admit that of the detected number of new TB cases every year in India, nearly 4 per cent of patients die, despite the fact that TB is easily detectable and curable these days, he added.

He said in India only 70 per cent of the TB cases are detected every year. Measures should be taken to detect nearly 90 per cent of the TB cases by the 12th Five Year Plan. He added that a proposal of Rs 6,000 crore has been sent by the RNTP to the government seeking approval to offer various facilities to the TB patients.

The programme of RNTP will also cover slum areas in its attempt to detect TB patients.

Kumar urged private medical practitioners not to prescribe serological test for TB. India is the first country to ban it as the poor can’t afford it, he added
The DDG also said the RNTP has taken up measures to collect details of every patient. The collected data will be published in the website.

This will help doctors to treat the patients. State Health and Family Welfare Services Director Dhanya Kumar said that there is a severe shortage of expert doctors in the state. Nearly 950 posts remain unfilled. In Karnataka, there are nearly 15 per cent HIV-infected among TB patients.

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