Stigma forcing TB patients to default on treatment

Stigma forcing TB patients to default on treatment

  Although the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) had streamlined the treatment procedures, the stigma attached to the disease in the society has increased the number of defaulters on DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short course) treatment even in Bangalore.

The Karnataka State Tuberculosis Association, along with many other organisations, is now observing the ‘Anti-TB Week’ from February 17 to 23 to create awareness about the free facilities and prevalence, prevention and treatment of Tuberculosis.

Dr Vijaykumar S Biradar, Medical Officer, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said although TB is age-old disease, the treatment still remains the same. “Though TB is a preventable and curable disease, we still have 2.6 percent defaulters among patients who were on DOTS treatment. This is because, Bangalore has a floating population and many patients coming from outside do not continue the treatment after they return to their places," he said.

He said three months ago, link workers were incorporated in the RNTCP programme and due to which 1,641 patients are undergoing DOTS treatment. However, 3.8 percent of patients have defaulted on treatment from the initial diagnosis done for TB in BBMP areas in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The TB situation depicts the health systems of any country.  Dr Shashidhar Buggi, Secretary, Karnataka State Tuberculosis Association said though RNTCP guidelines have been very meticulously framed and has saved 20 lakh people since its inception, the implementation of the guidelines is not to its full capacity.

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