Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to revamp the TB Hospital in Sewri and turn it into a Centre of Excellence for TB Management following the discovery of a new and more deadly strain of the disease,the hospital is finding it difficult to maintain its crumbling infrastructure and retain its employees with its current load.
Unhappy with the safety provisions at the hospital and the weak infrastructure,the limited existing staff from the hospital has threatened to quit. Procurement of masks is a basic necessity at a TB hospital. However,the hospital provided us with the right kind of masks recently, said a nurse. Around 37 doctors at the hospital have died due to TB and 53 have contracted the disease over the last five years. Two doctors are currently undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The hospital has been grossly under-staffed for the past five years. As a result,the operating theatres have remained shut and machines idle. We have been interviewing many doctors and hope to fill the vacant posts at the earliest, said Dr R Nanavare,medical superintendent of the hospital. Sources,however,said that inspite of having interviewed more than 30 doctors over the past month,none have reverted for fear of their own health.
The laboratory at the hospital,which has an inflow of 150 patients per day,is yet to be accredited by the WHO.
It has been sending the sputum samples for further investigation to the accredited labs in Bangalore,New Delhi and Chennai. Sources at the hospital said that they will apply for an accreditation within the next six months.
After an intimation from the state government,the BMC has allocated Rs 40 crore to turn the hospital into a Centre for Excellence for TB management.
FDA to have a stronger drug policy
After a suggestion from the BMC,the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Maharashtra plans to strengthen its drug policy. In a recent meeting,BMCs TB officer Dr P Keskar said FDA officials should come down heavily on chemists selling illegitimate over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. It is a fact that OTC drugs are rampantly sold in the city. As a result,bacteria develop resistance and gives rise to more resistant strains. FDA authorities should conduct surprise checks on chemist shops, Keskar said. With the recent appointment of 60 odd drug inspectors by the FDA,officials now plan to step up their inspection programmes. We have been working with limited staff for a long time due to which thorough inspection was not possible. However,now,with an increased staff strength,raids and checks will become more frequent,especially for TB drugs, said a senior FDA official.