Health Ministry to States/UTs: ensure that care of TB patients goes uninterrupted during COVID-19 pandemic
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has written to all States/UTs to ensure that the all the facilities under National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) in the States and UTs remain fully functional in public interest and ensure that the diagnosis and treatment of TB patients goes without any interruption notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The comprehensive directives include the providing one month of drugs at a time to all TB patients either newly diagnosed or currently on treatment. This includes both public and private sector TB patients, including drug-resistant TB patients. States/UTs are to ensure that patients with or without ID receive medicines at a heath facility convenient to them to prevent any form of interruption to treatment.
Further, the directives state that even if the TB patient is unable to approach the health facility, arrangements should be made by the facility to deliver drugs at the doorstep of the patient wherever possible. Considering the challenges posed due to COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down, the Ministry has issued orders to ensure sufficient quantity of drugs are procured and adequate supplies of drugs are available.
The TB diagnostic and treatment services are fully operational in the States and UTs. TB patients are being advised about the precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to continue their TB treatment as prescribed. The health of the patient and healthcare workers remains a top priority during COVID-19 pandemic situation. Besides, directive has been given to provide the TB toll-free number (1800-11-6666) to all patients in case they face any difficulty in this regard.
The directives/advisories have been uploaded on the website (www.tbcindia.gov.in) under “News and Highlights” section.