TB cases declining in western region: Reports

Pokhara, October 23

Reports show that the number of tuberculosis patients has been declining in the western region. However, doctors have expressed doubts over the reliability of such reports.

As per Western Regional Tuberculosis Centre, 5,635 TB patients were recorded in the fiscal 2015/16, while the number was 5,892 in 2014/15.

Similarly, the population of TB patients in the region was 6,295 a year ago. “The number of the TB patients has been declining,” claimed Dr Mukunda Acharya, chief of the centre.” However, the figures are based on patients visiting government hospitals for treatment.

Barsha Thapa, regional coordinator of Tuberculosis Programme, said not all patients visited government hospitals. “As the reports do not include patients visiting private clinics, the number of TB patients might be much higher,” he said.

As per the centre, it is preparing to find out the actual number of the TB patients. Of the 16 western districts with a total 51,61,806 population, three Tarai districts, including Nawalparasi, Rupandehi and Kapilbastu, alone have more than 51 per cent TB patients.

Though the World Health Organisation states that there are 156 TB patients in each 1 lakh population, the number in the region was 109 last year. The number was 116 and 126 in 2014/15 and 2013/14 respectively, said coordinator Thapa.

“It has been a huge challenge for us to find out the actual number of TB patients. We need to disseminate the message that TB patients are given free treatment in government hospitals. If the supply of medicines to private health facilities is stopped, all patients would visit the government hospitals. This way we could also find out the exact number of TB patients,” said Acharya.

“As many as 349 patients are said to have been suffering from strong TB. Of them, around 100 are said to be in the western region.  TB can be cured if a patient consumes medicines regularly for six months in the initial phase.

“If a patient is treated under DOTS, it can easily be cured,” said Acharya. Modern device to detect the TB virus also is available in Pokhara.