The district tuberculosis centre will inaugurate the first cough outpatient department (OPD) in Nashik within a month at the civil hospital.
The district tuberculosis centre decided to provide the necessary infrastructure for patients suffering from cough under one roof, as a number of cases of TB go undetected and to administer early treatment.
Kapil Aher the district TB officer, said, “The civil hospital is highly specialized and patients visit many faculties within the hospital. As each faculty thinks from its own point of view, the possibility of TB is not considered in patients suffering from cough. The screening of such patients is therefore not done on time. With the cough OPD, we will screen every patient for TB and will look for other symptoms as well.”
This OPD will be equipped with a laboratory, a lab technician and will also have a medical officer and a TB health visitor from the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC). The present TB lab, which is behind the civil hospital, will be shifted to the TB OPD.
The present lab is away from the hospital. If theyt find symptoms after screening, the patient will be counseled and the sputum will be collected. The results will provided by the afternoon on the same day.
The rise in TB dropout rate is due to the patients going from one OPD to the other. If they are advised for a sputum test before taking the medicines, the patient skips the test and goes home with the medicine. Now all the treatment will be done under one roof.
The district TB centre has decided to provide counselling to all patients, including those in rural areas. The rural patient will be referred to the respective primary health centre (PHC) and a reference chit will be sent to the appropriate person at the PHC, informing them that the patient will visit the centre within seven days.
Maximum TB ‘miss-outs’ are from rural areas. They will also sensitize doctors about this. PHCs and rural hospitals have diversified patients, due to which is doctors are unable to diagnose TB. They have now started daily sputum collection since January. Lab technicians monitor the daily sputum registration. They have also started X-Ray tests for those who do not come for sputum test.
TB cases have shown an upward graph in the last two months compared to December 2013. In all, 289 cases were registered in December. There were 301 cases in January and 305 in February.
Aher said, “It is due to the daily sputum tests, that we are unable to detect TB cases. Earlier, it used to be missed and hence the cases went undetected in the early stages.” With the cough OPD, the centre hopes to treat TB patients at the primary stage.