World Tuberculosis Day: A word of caution for the Indians

  • Posted on- Mar 24, 2015

With 14 million registered cases already and 1000 dying each day, India is undoubtedly the world’s highest tuberculosis burden country. Over 20 years of economical prowess, still India is not on the threshold of controlling tuberculosis. The annual loss suffered by the country because of TB is estimated at Rs.12,000 crores. Off late, the improved facilities to detect drug-resistant TB have increased the difficulty in managing the disease. This is purely because it requires additional manpower, resources, lab facilities and infrastructure. The bacteria somehow withstand various mechanism and passes through multiple drugs only to pave way for different forms of TB.

Who are at risk of tuberculosis?

Common symptoms of TB

So what needs to be done to pull India from the jaws of TB?

Well, for starters, people should be made aware of the disease along with providing information on diagnosis and treatment to both rural and urban areas. Availability of improved and accurate diagnostics for TB should be expanded and provided to patients at cost-effective prices alongside banishing the poorly performing tests. Moreover, following basic principles of cleanliness and personal hygiene and by consuming nutritious food, one can work upon his/her immune system. When the body’s immunity is strong, bacteria will not invade it easily. This is the sole precautionary measure.

Early detection of disease is the key to successful treatment. Enhancing patient outcome can only be achieved by providing apt support to the needy patients so that they are able to complete the full course. Research studies have shown that shorter regime has the potential to lower default rates that’ll help prevent drug-resistant TB.

The Indian Government takes more than 15000 probable patients daily under ‘The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme’ (RNTCP) and provides DOTS course for free. The cost of the treatment right from the detection to diagnoses is covered by the government. DOT strategy was incepted in 1993 and since its nationalization it has helped countless patients overcome tuberculosis. But the government needs to take it to the every corner of the country.

What Next?

While we work upon all the possible angles to eliminate TB, it is equally important to plan for the future. An improved version of BCG vaccination is a must because after prolonged trials it was found that the vaccination does not offer any protection against TB in adults. Government needs to invest heavily in research and development so that scientists can come up with new drugs to tackle tuberculosis.

March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day because on this date, that year (1880), TB was discovered by Robert Koch.