New Delhi: The Centre has decided to rope in chemists and druggists to strengthen the mechanism of notifying tuberculosis incidence to authorities concerned, and if they or a health establishment fail to do so, it would attract penal action, including imprisonment and fine.
A notification by the Union health ministry today stated that all pharmacies and chemists dispensing anti-tuberculosis drugs will have to notify TB patients along with details of medicines and a copy of the prescriptions electronically or in hard copy to the nodal officer of the district or any other official authorized by him.
According to a health ministry official, “The aim is to trace the missing TB cases by strengthening the reporting system.”
The notification stated that if a health establishment, pharmacy, chemist and druggist, fails to notify a TB patient to a nodal officer or a local public health authority, or if the official concerned does not take appropriate action on receiving such notification, he would face action under IPC sections 269 and 270.
According to the IPC’s Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), the convict shall undergo imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Section 270 of the IPC, which deals malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life, recommends imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Local Public Health Authority refers to district health officer or chief medical officer of a district and municipal health officer of urban local bodies or their designated district tuberculosis officers.
“Considering the importance of patient support needed for complete and appropriate treatment, all tuberculosis patients are encouraged to self-notify themselves with their own details and that of treating medical practitioners,” the notification read.
It stated that to ensure proper diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, it is essential to collect complete information of all TB patients.
List and contact details of State Tuberculosis Officers and District Tuberculosis Officers concerned, will be regularly updated by the Central Tuberculosis Division, in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and made available on www.tbcindia.gov.in and www.nikshay.gov.in, the notification stated.