The Union Health Ministry issued a notification which contains the penal provisions. If any clinical establishment fail to notify a tuberculosis patient to nodal officer and public health staff can be punished with a jail of six months to two years under the Section 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). 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.
Clinical establishments as defined in the Clinical Establishment Act, 2010, include a wide range of medical establishments, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, diagnostic services, including those operated by a single doctor.
Tuberculosis was made a notifiable disease in India in 2012 but there was no provision for penal action. Now, it has become a mandate for doctors, chemists and druggist, hospital authorities or any clinical establishments to notify tuberculosis cases to nodal officer and public health staff. The failure to notify will now attract penal action.
The ministry has issued separate reporting formats for laboratories and medical practitioners, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes etc. “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,” says the notification.
In India, most of the TB cases are not notified and most of them remain either undiagnosed or are inadequately diagnosed and are treated in private sector. The patients don’t stick to medication before the dose is completed as a result the bacteria become resistant to drug which leads to drug resistant TB.