Bihar – Ban on Alcohol Hampers Diagnosis Of TB

Every event and step has its pros and cons. Ban on liquor in Bihar do have its positive impacts from many point of views . But , it has badly affected the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the state. Conducting tests for diagnosing tuberculosis has become an extremely tedious in Bihar since the ban on liquor was imposed in the state last year. Ban on linquor has banned all the alcohols in the state. One such alcohol is ethyl alcohol ,which is used to conduct such tests in the laboratories, including those in government facilities, according to Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services, ministry of health. Taking is issue in concern ,  the Union health ministry has been prompted to write to the state health department seeking special exemption for procuring and using alcohol and spirit for uninterrupted diagnostic services. There is a scarcity of ethyl alcohol across the state and hit has hit TB ( tuberculosis ) diagnosis .

Already experts believe it is an uphill task for Bihar to eliminate TB by 2025. The state has missed many such targets in the past because of poor implementation of TB eradication programmes .The state has seen an upsurge in the number of TB patients in the last three years. It had 217 cases per lakh population in November 2016 against 203 in 2014 and there are indications to suggest that the number of patients is increasing with each passing day. To eliminate TB by 2025 , the deadline — the number of cases has to fall to 10 per one lakh population in the next nine years.

In his letter to the principal secretary of Bihar’s health department, Prasad said, “With the alcohol ban imposed in Bihar, the laboratories are facing difficulty in procuring alcohol and this has affected the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the state.”In view of the above and in public interest, special exemption for procuring and using alcohol and spirit for uninterrupted diagnostic services under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) is required,” he said. The state had last year recorded 64,158 cases of tuberculosis in government hospitals, which is 33 per cent of the total cases there.

Bihar TB continues to affect the lives of thousands of people with 64078 patients officially registered for anti-TB therapy in 2016, which is almost 5% of the total cases registered in the country. Bihar ranks 8th among the states in terms of number of patients registered for treatment

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