SRINAGAR: Lack of coordination among doctors convinces the Government Medical College (GMC) principal to believe that the state will not achieve the goal of tuberculosis eradication, but the officer concerned is certain that the state is on track.
Speaking at the Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme on tuberculosis at the GMC here, the principal of the college, Dr Kaisar Ahmad, said, “It’s difficult to achieve the Millennium Goal for 2025, because our population is still living with the burden of tuberculosis.”
“We still see patients of tuberculosis in the GMC-associated hospitals, and we also see cases from places like orphanages. The doctors are not taking it as a medical emergency; they still believe in the concept of sanatoriums. We need to fill in the gaps and have coordination to eradicate the disease,” he said.
Dr Kaisar shared that about 60 sputum’s tested positive for TB in the last couple of years in Kashmir, while 190 patients were found to be multidrug resistant.
“These figures should be treated as warning bells,” he said.
As per the official figures shared at the event, organised by the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, the total numbers of patients suffering from tuberculosis in 2015 was 5,306. In 2016, the total number of registered patients was 3698.
Sensing a “steady rise” in the prevalence of tuberculosis, noted doctor Dr G Q Allaqaband, who was among the chief guests, said, “There are still hurdles in controlling the disease. The 2013 figure of the World Health Organisation was worst.”
“In 1960s, we started an eradication programme for TB. But after looking at the cases back then, we thought eradication was far. We have not been able to control the disease. People took the medicines and stopped the course in between, and eventually they cases of MDR TB (Multi Drug Resistant) appeared,” he said.
Dr Allaqaband said the civil society, religious leaders, and doctors need to contribute towards eradication of the disease.
“If a person is seen coughing, no one notifies it to the doctor. The success rate of DOTs programme is slow. There has to be coordination among the doctors working in the field and those working in the GMC- associated hospitals to bring an end to the disease,” he said.
The state TB officer, Dr G M Chuloo, however feels that the state is on track for tuberculosis eradication.
“We are on the track to achieve the ‘Millennium Goal’. We have achieved 90 per cent success in controlling TB, and we will also cover the remaining 10 per cent in the coming years,” he said.
“There are about 1,297 DOTs centres in Kashmir, 91 Designated Microscopy centres, and 25 TB units. There is already 50 per cent drop in the tuberculosis cases, and we are likely to have more success,” he said.