Dhangadi, March 30
There has been unexpected rise in TB patients in Kailali in recent times despite the fact that the government has launched a number of programmes for the prevention of tuberculosis.
According to data of the district public health office, as many as 493 new TB patients were identified in the district till mid-January this fiscal. “Of them, 158 are women, while the rest are men,” said TB Assistant Dipendra Joshi of the office, adding that the number could have gone up by now.
Further, Joshi identified malnutrition and the increasing cases of non-communicable diseases as major causes behind the increase in TB cases in the district and said HIV victims were more prone to the disease.
“TB is not a big thing as it is cured if patients take drugs regularly for six months,” he said, adding that the identified patients are being treated as per the DOTS method.
A few cases that are not cured through the DOTS method have to take drugs up to 20 to 24 months under the MDR method, he said further.
Though normal drugs to be administered to TB patients as per DOTS are available in all government health facilities free of cost, the MDR therapy and the drugs needed for it are available only at Seti Zonal Hospital in Dhangadi and Mahakali Zonal Hospital in Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur.
According to Public Health Administrator Shivadatta Bhatta of the District Public Health Office, anyone contracting TB shows symptoms such as regular fever, cold and cough and weight loss. “Though we suspect the number of TB patients are more than what our previous data shows, we’ve not been able to visit the households to confirm the number,” he said.
TB-Leprosy inspector Mohan Ojha of the far-west Health Directorate conceded that Kailali has the highest number of TB patients but couldn’t explain why. “Kailali has the greatest population in the entire region and has greater number of patients, but we are yet to find out why the number is higher here than all the districts,” he said. There are around 427 DOTS centres in the far-west for TB patients.
A version of this article appears in print on March 31, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.