Karachi: Every registered medical practitioner, private clinic, private hospital, registered practitioner and community leader across the province of Sindh shall under the law notify the detection of tuberculosis case and maintain the record of patient.
An ordinance called ‘Tuberculosis Notification Ordinance 2013’ has been promulgated by the Governor of Sindh to make it mandatory for developing Tuberculosis Notification system in the province.
The ordinance envisages that Provincial Tuberculosis Program shall develop TB Notification Forms and deliver copies of these forms to the District Health Officers who shall distribute it to every registered medical practitioner, private clinic, private hospital, a registered practitioner and community leaders. They may submit the TB Notification Form by hand or by post to the District Health Officer or to a local public health facility including tertiary care hospitals, district headquarter hospital, tehsil headquarter hospital, civil hospital, rural health centre and basic health unit.
Following activation of Online TB Notification System by the ministry of health, a person may fill up the notification online and following the establishment of a Universal Access Number by the ministry of health, a person may fill up the notification by telephone.
The Ordinance says that within a week of examining a case, a registered medical practitioner shall submit a completed TB Notification Form and maintain the record of TB patient for a period of two years. The medical practitioner shall inform the close contacts of patient about strategies for preventing the spread of TB. He shall also inform the patient about availability of free diagnostic and treatment services through public health facilities.
The medical practitioner shall also notify the death of TB patient who has been under his care within one week of patient’s death. If a TB patient changes residence, the medical practitioner shall notify it to District Health Officer or a local public health facility.
The registered practitioner or traditional healthcare provider shall also notify TB cases to the District Health Officer or local public health facility. Moreover, an in-charge of a laboratory shall also notify such cases if the pathological laboratory identifies a positive TB test result. The community leaders and representatives shall also notify the TB cases.
Sindh Health Department shall establish Online TB Notification System and Universal Access Number within one year of promulgation of this ordinance allowing for confidential notification of a TB case.
The Ordinance envisages that a person who contravenes the provisions of this Ordinance shall be subject to penalties as prescribed by Secretary of Health. A person who discloses the identity of a TB patient to an individual who is not legally authorized to know that patient is infected with TB is guilty of breaching the patient’s confidentiality. Upon on conviction, a court shall punish a violator with a fine of Rs.25000/- to Rs.50, 000/-. The District Health Officer shall take cognizance of an offence arising under this Ordinance. A Judicial Magistrate of First Class shall try such cases. A per sentenced by the court may file an appeal before District Judge within 30 days.