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A Bitter Sweet - TB Tale in India

Posted by : Sonal Rathod

On : 04 January 2015

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Views : 2465

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Want to get an insight on status of Tuberculosis (TB) in India? Read on!

The bitter bit of TB: TB detection rate not 100% (that means there are hoards of missed cases!), Drug resistant TB (resistant to anti-TB drugs) & the increasing Harilals (who are these Harilals?; read up to know more).

Is there really a sweet bit to TB?! Yes, there is because we are fighting back Mycobacterium tuberculosis, organism which causes TB. How are we doing it? By India’s rising budget/fund release for research & development related to TB & having Amitabh Bachchan as an ambassador who’s taking head on with stigma attached to TB.

Let’s understand gloomy position of TB in India. According to WHO, India tops the list of the world's missed TB cases. Almost 24% of the world's missed TB cases are from India i.e detection rate is not 100%. Indian health authorities reply to this was private practitioners don’t report all TB cases, TB still has stigma attached to it, so people who are suffering are likely to keep it private.

Another massive issue with TB is the drug resistant variants of TB. Terms used for drug resistant TB are MDR-TB (Multidrug resistant TB), XDR-TB (Extensively drug resistant TB), XXDR-TB (Extremely drug resistant TB) & TDR-TB (Totally drug resistant TB).

MDR-TB is defined as resistance to isoniazid and rifampicin, with or without resistance to other first-line drugs. XDR-TB is defined as resistance to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, and to any fluoroquinolone, and to any of the three second-line injectables.

India comes under 27 "high burden" drug resistant TB countries. Reasons for drug resistance: patients skipping the regular drug doses, diagnosis of drug resistant TB difficult & unregulated sale of tuberculosis drugs in the private healthcare sector.

Harilals on rise; Harilal is a name given to abandoned TB patient at Sewri TB hospital. Why they are named as Harilal? Harilal was son of Mahatma Gandhi who died of TB in 1948; there were no friends or relatives at his bedside throughout his stay at hospital. So if any patient is abandoned, staff members refer to them as Harilal. Families are treating these TB patients as a burden & many often don’t even return for their last rites!

Talking about the sweet bit of TB (which is lot lesser than that of bitter!) is the India’s will to fight back TB. Funds are being released for R&D so that the diagnostics of TB can get better & cheaper.

Also, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan revealed he suffered from TB in 2000, medical fraternity has praised for taking on the stigmatization attached to infectious diseases, such as TB. Now it’s Mr.Bachchan, who stars in the BMC's "TB Harega, Desh Jeetega" campaign. Watch TB ki Googly https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc4DGrLUDrtaqru5sZ14z8A.Getting in Mr. Bachchan to spread awareness about TB is expected to give positive results. We hope in India fights against TB as it has successfully done against Polio & Leprosy.

Common India, make TB a loser!!

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