Doctors, chemists, hospital authorities can be jailed: Check why
New Delhi : The Union Health Ministry has asked clinical establishments to tuberculosis (TB) cases. It is for the first time that doctors, hospital authorities, chemists and druggists may have to face legal action for not notifying tuberculosis (TB) cases. They may even face a jail term as per IPC sections.
By term Clinical establishments Act 2010, the ministry means medical establishments, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, diagnostic services, including those operated by a single doctor. The ministry has asked the establishments to inform about tuberculosis patient to the nodal officer and local public health staff. In case of failure, the concerned person might be punished with a jail term of six months to two years under the provisions of Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
As per IPC, Section 269 provides for a jail term of six months and/ or fine, Section 270 has provision for a jail term of two years and/ or fine.
In India, TB was defined as a notifiable disease in 2012. However, there was no provision for penal action. The Union Health Ministry mentioned in its notification. “To ensure proper tuberculosis diagnosis and its management in patients and their contacts and to reduce tuberculosis transmission and further to address the problems of emergence and spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, it is essential to collect complete information of all tuberculosis patients… Healthcare providers, termed as clinical establishments henceforth, shall notify every tuberculosis patient to local public health authority, namely, district health officer or chief medical officer of a district and municipal health officer of urban local bodies in whatever way they are known; or their designated district tuberculosis officers in a format as specified,”
Of late, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a TB-free India campaign. While attending End-TB Summit in Delhi, PM Modi mentioned that the government has been following certain principle of “treat every TB patient best at the very first opportunity”.
As per health report, TB kills an estimated 4,80,000 Indians every year. India also has more than a million ‘missing’ cases every year which are not notified, and most remain either undiagnosed or inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector.