Notification requirement for TB lags in India

The mandatory notification of tuberculosis by private practitioners in India to the government has yet to become common practice in Hyderabad and elsewhere the nation with the world's highest TB burden.

In May, India made TB a notifiable disease, requiring private hospitals to report TB cases to the proper authorities. The practice is meant to help health officials to monitor TB and track how well patients stick to their treatment, the Hindu reports.

The lack of awareness and cooperation from private practitioners is keeping the government from implementing control measures.

In Hyderabad, private practitioners may be avoiding the notification of the government to avoid scrutiny and losing patients to the Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course TB control program run by the government.

The Revised National TB Control Program is attempting to spread the message that notification is only meant to help improve TB surveillance.

"Mandatory TB notification will not impact private practice," K. Subhakar, a representative of the RNTCP, said, according to the Hindu. "Reporting TB cases is meant only to track adherence to TB treatment, proper diagnosis and rational use of anti-TB drugs. Cases of drug resistant TB are becoming frequent and they can be controlled by notifying TB."

Health authorities are working with the Indian Medical Association and the A.P. Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association to make TB notification a common practice.

"We are aware of this issue and we feel that notifying TB will not impact private practice," R.S. Saluja, APNA's Hyderabad president, said, according to the Hindu. "By notifying, private institutions will only help the government in fighting TB. We have asked our members to strictly notify TB cases."