A GSM Enabled POC Smart Pill Dispenser for Controlling MDR-TB Ensuring Drug AdherenceAuthor(s): Bindu Salim
The continuing spread of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is one of the most difficult challenges faced to control TB. During a pandemic situation, faced by the world currently, it is especially important to think about managing diseases like TB by way of the existing DOT. In addition to MDR-TB burden, the pandemic could add to the misery of TB patients and the efforts towards drug adherence. The situation is much severe in India with more than 9 in a Lakh of TB patients belonging to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis MDR-TB. The WHO report-2020 indicated that 50% of the MDR cases were treated successfully, 5-6% failed treatment, 19-20% led to death, 20% could not be tracked, and 5% goes not evaluated. A multifaceted approach is needed to prevent this widespread epidemic of MDR-TB and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Rapid diagnostic assays and the development of new drugs are essential in preventing delays in the treatment of MDR-TB and XDR-TB and curbing their spread. Another major pathway to control MDR-TB is to increase the efficiency of drug adherence. Numerous studies have shown that pill dispensers have improved patient adherence to drugs. Here, a Point of Care IT-enabled pill dispenser was developed, sensing the medicine dispensing through an RFID tag, incorporated with a GSM module to attach the patient with a buddy and the local monitoring centre. The system generates alerts followed by SMS and then phone calls, first to the patent, then to the buddy and further to the local health care official. An evaluation study was conducted with 10 participants to understand the efficacy of the pill dispenser.