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SLIC, Socio-Legal Information Center.
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State government questioned for non-functioning TB Centres

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Date : 11/05/2016

Sanjeet Singh vs. State of Bihar and Others.

The non-availability of spirit to the government operated T.B. Centres across the State has virtually stalled the functioning of the aforesaid T.B. Centres across the State and also hampered the process of Bulgum testing for T.B. Moreover, the report also suggested that in the absence of spirit and lack of other mechanisms to the collected samples for testing T.B., the medicines are being distributed to the beneficiaries on mere assumptions without any concrete medical reports. As per reports in a popular Hindi newspaper “HINDUSTAN”, the non-availability of spirit due to recent prohibition laws imposing a blanket ban on alcohol has led to the Bulgum testing for T,B, being stalled at most of the T.B. centres in Jehanabad district of Bihar. Consequently, the poor and the beneficiaries are facing severe difficulties. It must be mentioned that in absence of spirit the State or the T.B. centres can switch to other alternatives. That Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious airborne disease. Globally, it is the greatest cause of death of people living with HIV, and ranks alongside HIV as a top infectious disease killer. While more men than women are diagnosed with TB and die from it, TB can have particularly severe consequences for women, especially during their reproductive years. TB is primarily a disease of poverty affecting vulnerable groups. The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world where gender inequities are all too common. Malnutrition and food insecurity can exacerbate the risk of TB disease; other threats such as rising tobacco use and diabetes among women also result in increased TB burden. Stigma and discrimination in some settings can mean women ill with TB are ostracized by their families and communities. Further, cultural and financial barriers can act as major obstacles for women seeking care resulting in delayed presentation and more severe illness. TB mainly affects women when they are economically and reproductively active, the impact of the disease is also strongly felt by their children and families. TB among mothers is associated with a six-fold increase in prenatal deaths and a two-fold risk of premature birth and low birth-weight. Genital TB, which is challenging to diagnose, has been identified as an important cause of infertility in high TB-incidence settings. TB in pregnant women living with HIV + increases the risk of maternal and infant mortality by almost 300%. In India as per World Health Organization (W.H.O.) it has been found that TB among mothers living with HIV, is associated with more than double the risk of vertical transmission of HIV to the unborn child and India accounts for the 23% of the tuberculosis cases in world. It pertinent to mention here that already in two different cases last year, the Hon’ble High Court has directed that the use & supply of Alcohol cannot be restrained for medical purposes but till date the supply to the TB centers have not resumed. Further, every year more than 60,000 new patients are identified in Bihar.

Pending but Notices have been issued to the State government for filing Response.

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