2% TB ignore DOTS

KATHMANDU: Two per cent of tuberculosis patients in Kathmandu Metropolitan City fail to take their drug dose and discontinue treatment provided by DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course) centres.

Dr Babu Ram Gautam, chief at the Public Health Division of KMC, said, “The control of TB in urban areas has become more problematic than in the rural areas.”

There are about 2,000 TB patients and 34 DOTS centres including 14 metropolis centres in Kathmandu. “Two per cent of the patients do not take full dosage of medicine and discontinue treatment,” said Dr Gautam. “This complication is a result of migration, lack of awareness and financial problems,” he said.

Migrated workers and people with poor income discontinue the treatment, as they prefer working for livelihood to visiting DOTS centres for treatment, said Gautam. “One patient can communicate the disease to 15 people. Sixty per cent of the TB patients are adults,” informed Gautam.

About 6,000 people die of TB every year in the country. “Treatment of TB is available free of cost but people are unaware of the provision,” said Gautam. “TB bacteria is in a latent condition in about 45 per cent of the total population. It may come into surface anytime when immunity of the people lessens,” he added.