Hyderabad: A study taken up in the government and private tertiary hospitals has revealed 442 positive cases of brain tuberculosis (TB) in the city during first eleven months of 2016.
The large number of brain TB cases reported, perhaps for the first time in Telangana, puts to scrutiny the on-going State-run TB control programme, which is centred-around lung tuberculosis that forms 85 per cent of the overall TB cases.
The field study, taken up by a group of doctors with the support of an NGO, Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), has said that brain TB patients experience a lot of difficulties to get treated due to lack of a proper State-run support system.
The study was done in 11 top tertiary hospitals, which also included Gandhi Hospital, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and Osmania General Hospital (OGH). The doctors also approached Niloufer Hospital for data but apparently the mother and child care centre did not have data.
More than 50 per cent of brain TB cases in the city were being treated at private hospitals, the study said. This has put a lot of financial pressure on patients, who on an average, were spending anywhere from Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 3 lakh for treatment.
Additional professor of Neurology, NIMS, Dr. Afsan Jabeen, who was part of the study, said that that a majority of brain TB patients were drug resistant. “Advanced diagnostic tools are needed to test whether the patient is drug resistant or not so that the treatment can be timely,” she said.
The study said that Government Chest Hospital, the nodal centre for TB, does not allow patients to undergo multiple tests to confirm drug resistance. “Only two tests are free for drug resistant TB patients. For the third time, the patients have to get tested outside,” it said.
Seeking government support in checking brain TB, Mujtaba Hasan Askar of HHF said, “Arogysri scheme provides just Rs. 20,000 health cover for brain TB and there is also a need to include in the State-run TB control programme”.