A tuberculosis (TB) official from Maharashtra has dismissed any claims of shortages of cartridges used in GeneXpert facility for the rapid detection of TB.
These cartridges are used for rapid detection and treatment of suspected multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB) patients as well as those with HIV-TB comorbidity.
Sanjeev Kamble, Joint Director of state for TB, said, “We had supplied 50,000 cartridges in the last month to all the centres in the state. The order for another 1, 50,000 cartridges are also rolled out and it will be supplied soon. There is no shortage of cartridges at any of the government centre and we are ensuring that no suspect is denied test because of lack of cartridge.”
A total of 72 government run centres provide GeneXpert facility in Maharashtra which carry out Cartridge-Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT), which gives out report within two hours. These tests are crucial for detection of TB in HVI positive patient and detection of Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) TB cases.
These tests are crucial for detection of tuberculosis in HIV positive patient and detection of MDR tuberculosis cases.
TB survivors and some of the NGO’s working in the field of TB have written to state government on Thursday claiming that cartridges used in GeneXpert are short in supply across the state.
The letter also mentions that alternative microscopic tests are not accurate while detecting TB patients.
Ganesh Acharya, TB survivor, said, “In the month of May shortages were first seen in Pune. Now, since the last month many of the GeneXpert facilities in the Mumbai do not have cartridges to carry out tests. More than 60,000 children died in the country because of TB and Maharashtra has a very high incidence of TB. If state government does not ensure the supply of the cartridges, then we will approach the central government.”
On an average, every CBNAAT or GeneXpert centre tests around 250 samples every month. That accounts for a total of 18,000 tests per month. Among them, an average of 400 patients test positive for MDR-TB in the state every month.