On increasing cases of tuberculosis in India, Apollo Hospitals along with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease have launched software that will remind TB patients of taking the prescribed drug in timely manner.
The software takes the help of SMS and voice calls for reminding the patient. In addition, it also reminds of counselling session if a patient skips the prescribed TB drug.
Sunita Nareddy, head of the infectious disease department, believes that once a patient suffering from the vector-borne disease starts feeling better, stops taking medicine. However, this worsens the situation and makes the TB drug resistant. Thus, this reminder software might prevent such a situation where carelessness results in even more dangerous TB. “The software will send everyday reminders to patients to take medicines. This is very important because in our experience, once patients start feeling better, they tend to discontinue medicines. This invariably causes complex drug-resistant TB,” she said.
The software is controlled by Central Government’s TB notification website ‘Nikshay’ where it will report on daily basis. After, all the results are unified at one place, it becomes easier for doctors to keep a close eye one every patient and help them in recovering with the chronic disease.
“At present, there is no automatic mechanism in place to notify TB cases to government authorities. There is no system of follow-up of cases. The new software will address both these issues. The success rate for TB treatment is over 95 per cent. However, the adherence levels to the drugs are low,” said The Union’s project director Sarabjit Chadha. Also, he requested TB patients not to go in crowded places as the vector-borne disease might sprout rapidly.
Presently, the software is under testing and involves patients of Apollo hospitals. If everything goes as per the plan then hospital officials and the Union is might further extend its coverage and involve other private hospitals in their mission of TB free India.