Tuberculosis is declared a notifiable disease by the Ministry of Health, Government of India. This ensures the proper detection and management of TB patients who escape the government’s TB control programme. This implies that if a new TB patient is detected by any private institution or hospital or doctors, it is mandatory for them to inform the government about each case and the kind of treatment provided to these patients.
The move is expected to curb the different varieties of drug resistant TB cases in the country.India accounts for more than half of South East Asia’s drug resistant tuberculosis cases. About 2-3 % new cases and 12-17% older ones have MDR-TB. TB kills two Indians every three minutes and a daily toll of 1,000. It continues to be a major public health problem accounting for substantial morbidity and mortality. This notification will give TB patients access to quality diagnosis and treatment and will help curb the doctor-hopping practice of TB patients, which leads to drug resistance.
Most of the time, patients frequently change doctors without proper diagnosis and fail to complete the full course of TB medicine spread over few months. In the hope of quick cure, the patients start looking for new medicines from private sector doctors. The practice leads to drug-resistance. The notification will also aid the National TB Control Programme to realistically estimate TB disease burden, plan resources and control measures commensurate with the actual burden of disease.