Nawada resident Mohammad Jalaluddin has no faith left in the government after losing his only son to tuberculosis.
Mohammad Arzoo (15), suffering from the extensively drug-resistant form of the disease, died on August 15 after being denied medicines by the district tuberculosis office.
The office is supposed to provide free medicines. According to Jalaluddin, the office failed to provide drugs on time, which led to his son’s death. He said: “I made several visits to the Nawada district tuberculosis office. The officials told me they didn’t have medicines and were in the process of purchasing those. Four months passed without any result.” “I lost my son because of the lackadaisical attitude of the district tuberculosis officials,” he added.
On July 25, Arzoo’s father took him to New Delhi after his condition deteriorated. Doctors at LRS Institute, which has been upgraded to National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, said Arzoo’s condition worsened owing to lack of drugs.
Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis is a rare form of the disease in which the patient develops resistance to some of the most effective anti-TB drugs.
Nawada district tuberculosis officer Shiv Kumar Prasad Chakravarty said: “When Jalaluddin came to us with the request of providing medicines to Arzoo, we sent his file to the district magistrate (DM) because only after his approval can we purchase the medicines from outside the state. The DM had sent back the file without citing any reason. When we sent him the file for a second time, he sent the file to the civil surgeon seeking more details about the patient. We gathered details of the Maharashtra-based pharmaceutical company from where the drugs had to be bought. We sought quotation from the firm. These procedure took time and we could not provide medicines to Arzoo on time.”
“Why wasn’t the patient provided with MDR-TB drugs to which the patient had not developed any resistance? It could have saved his life. The district tuberculosis office could not provide the medication,” said a doctor, on the condition of anonymity.
On why MDR-TB drugs were not provided, Chakravarty said: “We could not give him the drugs because he had to continue with the medicine he started with. Discontinuing it could have proved fatal. ”