Pune city’s tuberculosis (TB) control department has designed a nutritional food basket–including rice, wheat flour, jaggery, oil and lentils like harbhara, moong dal, matki (moth bean) and groundnut–to be given to each patient soon, with contributions from the public.
“The approximate cost works out to Rs 1,000 per month and we are hoping that citizens and organisations can contribute towards the project of adopting a TB patient for a year,” Dr Prashant Bothe, TB control officer in the city, told The Indian Express. The central TB division initiated a programme on ensuring community support to TB patients and providing additional support to improve the treatment outcomes in them. This programme is also part of India’s commitment to eradicate TB by 2025.
“We have around 3,175 TB patients from low-income groups that can be adopted. The approximate cost would be Rs 12,000 for supporting a TB patient with adequate nutrition. We hope to roll out these food baskets soon,” Dr Bothe said. The list of patients who have consented to receive community support is available on the Nikshay portal. Nikshay (Ni-End, Kshay TB) is a web-enabled patient management system under the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme.
The portal is used by public and private health functionaries to register cases under their care, order tests from labs across the country, record treatment details, monitor treatment adherence and transfer cases among care providers. Officials have said the increased involvement of people and the community will help not just in the TB elimination effort but also to reduce the stigma around TB patients.
Around 27 lakh new TB patients are detected every year and an approximate four lakh die of the disease. In the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) area, there are 11 TB control offices and 3,871 patients are enrolled with the civic health department for availing of treatment.
“Our target this year is towards detecting 8,560 new TB patients. From the private sector, 2,088 TB patients have been notified while 1,580 new cases have been identified in the public sector,” Dr Bothe said.
From January to September 2021, there were 5,376 notified TB patients. Around 323 TB patients died during the period. Of the patients notified from January to July this year, at least 110 have the twin infections of TB and HIV and 249 patients have both TB and diabetes.