The Maharashtra government has finally woken up to the need of a state-run second line drug susceptibility testing facility. It will upgrade its laboratory in JJ Hospital so that cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis are diagnosed on time. In a meeting with the state government,the expert panel of doctors raised concerns over the alarming increase in the number of TB cases in the state and the need for a state-of-the-art TB testing centre.
According to data accessed through RTI applications by Praja Foundation,36,417 cases of TB were diagnosed in Mumbai in 2012-13 and there were 6,921 deaths due to TB in the same period. BMC had,however,pegged the figures at 30,828 cases and 1,389 deaths.
Director of Public Health Dr Satish Pawar said at present,Hinduja is the only hospital in Maharashtra that has the facility to test for cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB. Hinduja is not accredited by the central government. We have written to the Centre regarding the same. JJ hospital laboratory will be supplied liquid culture MGIT machine costing about Rs 40 lakh from the state fund so that the facility of second line testing can be made be available, said Pawar.
Hinduja hospital laboratory is not accredited by the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme for culture and sensitivity test for second line drugs. It is only accredited for conducting Drug Susceptibility Testing (DST) by liquid culture and sensitivity for first-line drugs.
Because Hinduja is not accredited,we have to send samples to the lab in Mangalore and the report comes in only after four to six weeks. TB treatment is largely unorganised and unscheduled, said Pawar.
The facility for first-line drug susceptibility is available at government laboratories at the State TB Training and Demonstration Centre in Pune and Nagpur. The state has requested Centre to certify these laboratories for second-line drug susceptibility testing as well.
State health minister Suresh Shetty said he has urged union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to expedite the processes. We will also start awareness and sensitisation programmes for public and private general physicians across the state. The biggest shortcoming is lack of proper diagnosis at an early stage, said Shetty.
BMC-run Sewri TB hospital has been provided Rs 40 lakh from NRHM to upgrade its lab.