Missed calls from patients can help monitor TB treatment, says government

A special treatment kit which eases the procedure of treatment is being tested in two states

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Wednesday 25 March 2015

imagePopping three pills a day and giving a missed call on a designated number—this is what the government recommends to patients of tuberculosis (TB) registered under the DOTS programme (Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course).

“The main challenge is the follow-up of patients and ensuring that they do not miss doses. Through the missed call, it will be registered that the patient has consumed their daily dose. This will help in monitoring,” said Niraj Kulshrestha, additional deputy director general, central TB division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The medicine kit has a treatment regime for 28 days. Each strip has a combination of all three tablets to be consumed at once, which is indicated with a printed line. At the back of one of the three pills, a number is printed. The patient has to give a missed call on that number to register consumption of the medicines.

In case the call is not made, the treating doctor will be notified and expected to take appropriate action.

As of now, only Lupin Pharmaceuticals manufactures the kit. Government is conducting pilot projects in Mehsana in Gujarat and Patna in Bihar to check the efficacy of the kit. It was launched in Delhi by Union Health Minister J P Nadda at a function held to observe World TB Day.

Nadda said his ministry will ensure that sufficient funds are available for the fight against TB, but urged states to utilise funds properly. “When the funds remain unspent, we cannot make a case for more funds next time,” he said. 

The minister launched the government’s campaign “TB harega, desh jeetega” (TB will lose, the country will win) with special focus on patients with both HIV/AIDS and TB and TB among children.


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