Sri Narayani Hospital & Research Centre
Launch of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program
The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program was blessed and inaugurated by our beloved Sakthi Amma on 16.05.2006. Dr. Raja Shivanandam, Deputy Director (T.B.) cut the ribbon to officially open the T.B. OPD.
A small inaugural function followed to initiate the program. Dr.Varadhan, the Medical Superintendent welcomed the gathering. Dr. Raja Shivanandam, Deputy Director (T.B) was the Chief Guest of honour. He highlighted the importance of the RNTCP in his brief address and thanked Amma for the many welfare programs being conducted on a daily basis at the Sri Narayani Peedam.
In his address he also gave a bit of history of the NTCP in the early years as far back as 1962. He also mentioned that when a review was done in 1992 no considerable advancement had been achieved in T.B. Control. The program was analyzed to find out why there was no progress; and in 1993 a revised program came into being and was called Revised National T.B. Control Program. This was introduced by the Government on the basis of the following findings:-
Under the previous scheme, a sputum test was conducted only once per patient which cured only 40% of the TB. It was later realized that if the sputum test was conducted twice, 70% of the TB may have been cured and if it was done 3 times 100 % would have been achieved. Hence in the RNTCP sputum test is now conducted 3 times. Previously, patients were supposed take drugs for a period of 18 months continuously and the patients would stop after some months not completing the course. In the RNTCP it is enough if the patient takes the medicine for a period of 6 months under supervision of a health personnel.
In those days, drugs and instructions were given to the patients. Most of the patients discontinued using the medications. But under DOTS, patients are supposed to take the drugs in front of the health staff. The drugs are also scheduled 3 days per week. After 2 months of medication, sputum test is conducted and if the sputum is found to be negative the patient will be monitored for another 4 months and at the end of the 6th month patient will be discharged from the program.
Dr. Raja went on to say how dangerous it is to leave even one sputum positive patient untreated, as even one infectious patient infects 10 to 15 more people. Timely treatment guarantees definite cure. A recent study shows that only 60% of the population in our country goes to Government Hospital for treatment; the other 40% approach private hospitals and nursing homes. In order to reach out to the other 40%, the Government decided to join hands with private institutions. This is how the Sri Narayani Hospital & Research Centre has now become a DOTS centre in this area. Dr.Raja Shivanandam thanked Sri Sakthi Amma and the Director for their efforts in achieving this milestone. After his address a memento was presented to Dr. Raja Shivanandam.
Dr. K. R. John, a Professor of Community Medicine at the CHAD Hospital (a branch of the CMC Hospital) expressed his gratitude at the cooperation between the Public and Private sector in eradicating T.B. He mentioned that we borrow Rs.5000/- per patient from the World Bank towards treatment. This loan will be not only be easily repayable but also can be grown into a multitude under the DOTS system of treatment. In the previous program, the patient had to take medicines for 18 months and could not work for the whole period. Under the DOTS program, the patient can go to work from the 2nd month and not be dependent on anyone.
The DOTS scheme and the staff are governed under 3 principles.
The patients must accept the staff. The staff must have easy accessibility with the patients. They are accountable for the drugs they give to the patients and they are responsible for the patients’ progress. He also thanked our Director Mr. N. Balaji, for his keen interest in collaborating with the Government as he took the necessary steps 2 years ago.
The Director thanked Amma first and foremost for giving us this opportunity. While thanking the Deputy Director (T.B.) and Dr.K.R.John, he assured the institutions of his extreme cooperation in implementing the program. Dr. Chandrasekar will be in charge of the program in our institution and with the help of the Community Health Department he has already foreseen its success.
Dr. Chandrasekar gave the vote of thanks. In his brief speech, he gave an example from his own experience how he was able to save a mother of a 6 months old baby, who was anaemic due to T.B. He also insisted that we should spread the news that the treatment of T.B. is readily available and we should encourage suspected patients to get it treated at our hospital which will be provided free of charge.