Tuberculosis (TB) — the highly-infectious disease, which affects the lungs severely, is drastically on the rise in Mumbai. "Mumbai sees a 30 per cent rise in TB patients every year and the reason behind this is deteriorating immune system of people across all sectors. Mumbai has the highest number of TB patients not only across the country, but in the world city," said Dr Lalit Anande, Superintendent of Sewree TB Hospital.
Considering this, the central government has come up with a notification that besides health advisors, pharmacists, chemists, and druggists also have to compulsorily notify the Municipal Corporation upon detecting TB patients.
"TB treatment failure rate in Mumbai is also very high. Due to the failure of the public body to control the spread of TB, the government had to bring out a notification for chemists and druggists, too. Because of the increase in detection, many patients are now getting diagnosed with TB, but few complete the treatment, which leads to further spread of the disease," said Dr Manish Deliwala, a general physician.
In 2017, as per BMC data, 45,675 TB cases were detected in Mumbai. Dr Daksha Shah, BMC Health Officer, TB, said, "Apart from private and public sector hospitals, we will now track data provided by chemists, which will help detect the trend and track if patients are taking proper treatment. The central government has set 2025 as its target for TB elimination, and many initiatives like free treatment in government centres, awareness campaigns, etc have been taken up."
Hakim Kapasi, President of Chemists Association, North Mumbai, said, "Usually doctors prescribe medicines for nine months, but most patients discontinue treatment after one or two months. This makes them drug-resistant when they re-start their treatment after a few months. All chemists have been told to notify local ward offices about every TB patient's information such as the doctor's name and address, the medicines prescribed and its duration. This will help the BMC track if patients are taking medicines and what is the failure rate."
"In Mumbai, TB registration rate is higher due to floating population and patients from nearby cities like Thane, Mira-Bhayender, etc, come here for treatment. Around 25 per cent patients are from out of Mumbai (excluding the 45,675 patients). However, after diagnosis we refer them to TB cure centres in their cities, Dr Shah added.