March 24th is celebrated as world tuberculosis day. With tuberculosis affecting significant amount (19 lakh patients per year, 3 lakh deaths) for Indian population it is a reminder on this day that tuberculosis is an ongoing fight that needs resolve and efforts to reduce and gradual elimination. The article highlights the challenges in eradicating TB from India.
Recently health minister launched two vaccines known as Bed aquiline – new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB as part of the RNTCP. The drug is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of MDR-TB. It will be extremely important for people who are currently undergoing last line of drugs.
The minister also inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines in the programme. The CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously. It is a remarkable jump in diagnostic technology. It is a highly sensitive diagnostic tool and can be used in remote and rural areas without sophisticated infrastructure or specialized training.
Multi drug resistant tuberculosis is the most common TB found in India. It is the condition where first line of drugs used for treatment fails to respond. Inadequate prescription by doctors and inadequate follow up of proper prescription by patients is aggravating the problem. This issue can be solved by early pick of people having TB symptoms and put them on appropriate first line of drugs and there by eliminate it in first instance. It is unfortunate that national TB programme has failed in identifying the people who show early symptoms and inadequate follow up action post first line of treatment. This needs to improve.
The role of private sector in minimising the incidents of TB is high. Strict guidelines need to be followed to report cases of TB to government and private hospitals needs to be penalised for failure to report early TB cases to government.
All kinds of technology needs to be put in place to ensure easy access to diagnosis of TB, recent miss call initiative by health ministry that helps for early diagnosis of TB is a welcome step in this regard.
There needs to be an awareness program that let people know as to what constitutes early symptoms of TB. Immediate measures should follow from then on for effective treatment of TB.
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