Even though India declared TB a notifiable disease in the year 2012, the level of notification has not risen to expectations. All medical practitioners in the country have to notify their TB patients to the government registry.
However, a review of the state-wise notification data from 2018 showed that the percentage of notification from the private health sector in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh is a mere 28%. Among these six states, Bihar is leading in private notification at 40%, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which carried out the survey.
IMA, the umbrella organisation of Indian clinicians, has recently urged private doctors to notify every tuberculosis patient and register them on Nikshay, a web-enabled application developed by India’s health ministry.
Nikshay is an online tool which aims to create a database of all TB patients for monitoring and research purposes. Notification allows access to free drugs and diagnostic tests, nutritional and patient-centric support that ensures patients adhere to the treatment and incentives.
Doctors in the private sector have a huge role to play in reporting TB cases and adhering to the Standards for TB Care in India (STCI). STCI needs to be followed uniformly across the private sector.
With the largest burden of tuberculosis in the world, the Indian government is working towards a TB-free India by 2025. Notification of every TB patient is the single most important intervention to meet the government’s vision of a TB-free India.
India accounts for a quarter of the 8.6 million cases of TB that occur worldwide. India also accounts for a third of the ‘missing 3 million TB cases’ that do not get diagnosed or notified.