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Since 1st March, 1999
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TB plan ouster shock to docs

Ranchi, Aug. 17: Exclusion of Jharkhand from the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has shocked the medical practitioners here, who were expecting increased funds this year keeping in mind the performance of the treatment centres in the state.

“This comes as a surprise because TB continues to be a serious concern in this state. As the latest figures reveal, 10,478 TB cases, including more than 4,000 newly-detected, relapsed and extra pulmonary infections, are under treatment at present,” said representative of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Ajay Kumar Singh.

“Last year, the state moved from the 19th position to the sixth in the country in treating tuberculosis. The cure rate stood at 85 per cent and 12 districts out of 22 were able to achieve national targets. This year, the performance has further improved and 17 districts out of 22 have crossed the national targets,” said the state’s chief of TB control programme R.R. Verma.

“Incidentally, the 18 states selected for funding under RNTCP include prosperous states like Punjab and Haryana, but poverty-stricken and TB prone states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa are missing from the list,” Ajay added.

In the recently concluded national meet of Global Fund against AIDS, TB and malaria, the doctors presented the case of the state with suggestions for modification in the TB control programme. Several experts, including RNTCP chairman R.V. Ashokan, its national co-ordinator Dharam Prakash and deputy director-general L.S. Chouhan present in the meet took note of the observations.On the basis of clinical experience, the doctors had demanded medicine for symptoms associated with tuberculosis, testing equipment for extra-pulmonary TB and setting up treatment centres at private nursing homes.

“We are now hoping that our plea has been accepted,” said Ajay, adding: “IMA would reveal its plan for the public private partnership within a week, so that patients from underprivileged sections could be treated on time.”

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