Centre to soon finalise strategy to end TB in India by 2025

Henrietta Brewer
March 24, 2017

It is curable and preventable, with the availability of effective medications, and if the patients come early. The coughing could also involve blood. It usually affects the lungs but can occur anywhere in the body.

As a group of Khayelitsha schoolchildren living with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) today unveils an artwork commemorating their battles against the disease, the worldwide humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warns that adolescents are being fatally neglected in the response to TB and DR-TB in South Africa, and calls on the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to expedite plans to implement school-based TB education and TB screening in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH). Gaps in testing for TB and reporting new cases remain major challenges. The Philippines National Department of Health is working to further decentralize access to rapid TB diagnostics, especially to better serve people at risk of drug-resistant TB, children and the urban poor. But interventions to reduce stigma, like those that have worked for HIV, could provide a solution, say TB experts Amrita Daftary and Madhukar Pai. "Currently Sokoto has the estimated highest prevalence cases in Nigeria with 127 TB cases per 100,000 in 2016".

After infection, M.tb can lay dormant in a person for years, a state known as latent TB. Around nine million people were screened for TB and 1.4 million patients were put on treatment by GoI in 2015.

This death rate is the highest among all infectious diseases, including dengue, HIV and malaria.

"HIV and TB are conjoin twins with TB more deadly, but the awareness and funding of this epidemic is lower".

TB had taken over 1.3 million lives, mostly in the countries of the Third World. However, the challenge of diagnosing and treating TB is ever present.

USAID supports TB diagnostic services through the development and expansion of a sputum transport system.

The MDR-TB treatment success rate globally was an abysmal 52% in 2013. USAID is procuring, installing, and providing training for this new technology. Still we are facing this task of high incidence and on top of it Drug Resistant TB.

This test is now recommended by World Health Organization as the initial diagnostic test in all persons with signs and symptoms of TB. Approximately 5 percent of all cases are resistant two essential first-line TB drugs - referred to as multi-resistant - or extensively drug-resistant, meaning they are resistant to even more treatments. In end-2015, India had 79,000 cases of MDRTB, 11% more than in 2014.

Local and global experts will put their heads together to try to develop more effective treatment for MDR and XDR TB. "Drug resistant TB is a growing threat and the diagnosis and treatment is much costlier". Three out of four end up taking out loans to pay for treatment.

Therefore, it responds to even fewer available medicines.

If it costs about RM300 to treat a normal TB patient, MDR-TB treatment may cost up to RM12,000 per patient.

The treatment for MDR-TB has to be given for up to 20 months, while normal TB treatment is only for six months.

The commission has taken a number of steps in the past to alleviate TB burden from these regions, including increasing investment for health projects, improving training for local medical staff and encouraging local governments to issue favourable policies for TB patients, such as increasing medical insurance reimbursement for the disease, state-run China Daily quoted the commission as saying. Countries can only deliver on this promise and accelerate the response to end TB if they identify and reach those farthest behind in accessing care. In August of the same year, two pre-schools had staff who were diagnosed to have pulmonary TB.

Ending TB will only be achieved with greater collaboration within and across governments, and with partners from civil society, communities, researchers, the private sector and development agencies. "And there's another new drug called delamanid, that's not yet licensed in South Africa but is available in other countries". Partnership forms a key pillar of this strategy.

The extensive overuse of antibiotics worldwide has led to a rise in bacteria that are drug resistant.

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