Not notifying TB a crime, Ahmedabad sees first FIR against doctor

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Handcuffs against a background of chest X ray
Handcuffs against a background of chest X ray

Not notifying TB was made a punishable offence last year, but this is the first FIR against a doctor for non-compliance

 

For the first time an FIR has been filed against a doctor in Ahmedabad for not notifying tuberculosis case. Non-notification was made a punishable offence last year but the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is the first agency in the country to follow through with that change in the law.

TB kills an estimated 480,000 Indians every year and more than 1,400 every day. India also has more than a million ‘missing’ cases every year that are notnotified and most remain either undiagnosed or unaccountably and inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector. It is to trace these missing cases that the private sector is mandatorily required to report TB cases.

In addition 336 notices have been served to private sector doctors in various parts of Gujarat for not notifying TB cases. In Madhya Pradesh, 15 notices have been served in Bhopal and 8 in Indore.

In addition 336 notices have been served to private sector doctors in various parts of Gujarat for not notifying TB cases. In Madhya Pradesh, 15 notices have been served in Bhopal and 8 in Indore

TB was made mandatorily notifiable in 2012 but there were never any punitive provisions for lack of compliance. Since 2012 more than 0.7 million TB patients had been notified from the private sector. Especially notable were the effort and contribution from States of Maharashtra and Gujarat, which implemented 80% of signed ‘partnership schemes’ nationwide, and contributed more than 25% of all private notifications. The fact that one of these two  is also the first one to lodge an FIR for non-compliance shows that the focus in the state on TB has remained steadfast.

Meanwhile TB incidence in the country continues to be a very high 211 per lakh population raising doubts about the feasibility of reducing it to 44 per 100,000 by 2025 as required to achieve the sustainable development goals and as committed to by prime minister Narendra Modi. World Health Organisation deputy director general Dr Soumya Swaminathan was quoted by The Indian Express as saying that the present rate of reduction in TB incidence is not good enough (to achieve the SDG target).