With technology growing by leaps and bounds, the central health ministry has decided to use it aptly in its tuberculosis programme.
In a first-of-its-kind attempt to get more tuberculosis patients enrolled in the national programme, the Centre has launched a mobile app, which will be used by general physicians in Mumbai. The pilot project is an attempt to make notification of the disease simpler.
Dr Minni Khetrapal, deputy executive health officer in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Mumbai's TB officer, said, "The mobile app is called Nikshay. Since TB became a notifiable disease, doctors have had complaints of the notification process being lengthy. The app is an attempt to make it simpler so that we can reach out to more patients and doctors."
According to the health official, the app, which has been launched by the Central TB division (CTD) in Delhi, will be e-mailed to all general physicians in Mumbai. "Doctors need to download the app. The data of the patients entered in the app will be linked to a server in CTD. This will help avoid its duplication," said Khetrapal.
BMC's health department will conduct a workshop with Indian Medical Association representatives on March 21-22 for the same.
The corporation's health department has also roped in chest physicians practising privately in their TB programme. "There are many TB patients who are uncomfortable going to Sewri TB hospital for treatment and prefer going to a private doctor. In our Govandi and Kandivli DOTS centres, we have private chest physicians visiting and consulting TB patients. We plan to extend this public-private OPD. This will help us give quality service and free treatment to TB patients. We had a TB sensitisation workshop for 10 chest physicians last weekend. They too will be linked to our geneexperts machine so that the disease can be detected quickly and the patient put on treatment immediately," said Khetrapal.
She added that these steps will help them tackle the problem of irrational practices of TB treatment. "These doctors are further going to sensitise other physicians in their area. Irrational prescriptions causing rise in drug-resistant tuberculosis is a known problem and we are confident of controlling it," she said.