WITH MUMBAI a global hotspot for tuberculosis, the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) budget is slated to make substantial allocations for prevention and early cure of the disease through procuring prevention kits and ration for all TB patients.
The monthly ration, comprising wheat, gram flour, jaggery, and protein supplements, as recommended by dieticians, will be given to each patient registered with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in Mumbai. The city has a pool of about 40,000 TB patients, with 50 per cent of them registered with RNTCP for government-funded treatment while remaining in private healthcare.
Mumbai accounts for 21 per cent of total TB burden in Maharashtra. However, it holds a larger population — 60 per cent of the state burden — when it comes to multi-drug resistant TB patients.
“Earlier, we only distributed food and protein supplements to drug resistant patients. The idea is to provide it to all, even drug sensitive patients, so that they do not advance into drug resistant stage,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, Executive Health Officer, BMC.
The BMC had experimented with ready-to-eat food for TB patients in the past. Keskar added that the response of ready-to-eat food was poor, forcing the civic body to deliberate over alternate nutrition regime. “Monthly ration for patients can also be consumed by family as they are contact persons living in TB bacteria’s environment,” said Keskar.
The ration will be distributed through TB clinics. All TB patients will also be provided with a prevention kit. A mask, handkerchief, bleaching powder are a few things so far finalised for the kit. “Not every item is on rate card. We need to work around that and then finalise what items will be introduced in the kit,” said a TB official. The kit primarily aims to reduce transfer of air-borne bacterial infection to people around the patient.
India accounts for one-fourth of the global TB burden. In 2015, an estimated 28 lakh cases occurred and 4.8 lakh people died due to TB, annual report of the central government in 2017 indicated. BMC officials claimed that treatment results were expected to improve and fatalities estimated to dip with daily drug regime and ration.
In 2017-18, the total health budget in BMC was Rs 3,311.7 crore, of which revenue budget was Rs 2,755.96 crore. The BMC had allocated Rs 90.61 crore for TB control.
Meanwhile, the BMC is also in the process of clearing a proposal to hike costs for patients in BMC-run hospitals — by 30 per cent for people from outside Mumbai and by 20 per cent for Mumbai residents. The proposal is slated to be put up in front of the BMC standing committee. In 2016-17, the BMC had observed in its budget that 45 per cent of patients treated in its hospitals were from outside Mumbai. It, however, receives only 6-7 per cent of the total spending on healthcare facilities.
The last hike in hospital rates was in the year 2000, following which the rates in BMC have remained stagnant even though the cost of healthcare has increased.