Unexpected hangover: Bihar liquor ban hits TB testing
17 July 2017
The liquor ban in Bihar has had an adverse impact on the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the state, as such tests require the use of alcoholic spirits.
Conducting tests for diagnosing tuberculosis has become difficult since the ban on liquor was imposed in the state last year, a senior health department official told PTI.
This has prompted the Union health ministry to write to the state health department seeking special exemption for procuring and using alcohol and spirit for uninterrupted diagnostic services.
There is a scarcity of ethyl alcohol, which is used to conduct such tests in the laboratories, including those in government facilities, according to Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services in the Union health ministry.
In his letter to the principal secretary of Bihar's health department, Prasad said, "With the alcohol ban imposed in Bihar, the laboratories are facing difficulty in procuring alcohol and this has affected the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the state.
"In view of the above and in public interest, special exemption for procuring and using alcohol and spirit for uninterrupted diagnostic services under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) is required."
The state had last year recorded 64,158 cases of tuberculosis in government hospitals, which is 33 per cent of the total cases there.