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More concentrated efforts will be needed to achieve the target of TB elimination

Contact tracing and timely reporting form the basis of eradication

GREATER KAILASH, India - Feb. 16, 2018 - eTradeWire -- The National Health Policy has a target of eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2025. This means that there should not be more than one case of TB for a population of 1 lakh. For India to eliminate this disease by the estimated deadline, the rate of decline of cases needs to be 21% per year over 8 years. However, with the current rate of annual decline of TB cases globally standing at 1.5%, India is lagging in its national decline rate.

WHO's Global TB Report 2017 highlights that under-reporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases continue to be a challenge, especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors and weak health systems, including India. Over 8.5 lakh people with TB are missing the treatment options as per the report.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, "TB is a major public health concern in the country. Despite advances in TB care, the disease continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality. And, it takes a heavy toll on the economy too. Emergence and spread of drug-resistant TB has become a major public health concern now.

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Reporting is an important aspect of tracing contacts of those with infectious TB. All contacts of the patient should be screened for TB and put on treatment if required. This cascade of screening of contacts, at home and workplace, identifies individuals at risk and prevents further spread of TB, including MDR TB.

Contact tracing interrupts the chain of transmission of the disease by early diagnosis of cases as well as timely and complete treatment."

People with conditions like HIV, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition and those on treatment with immuno-suppressant drugs (anti-cancer, corticosteroids etc.) are at a greater risk of developing TB disease once infected.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, "The approach to all notifiable diseases should be based on DTR: Diagnose, Treat, and Report. Diagnose early, using sputum Gene Xpert test; Treat: Complete and effective treatment based on national guidelines, using FDC; and Report: Mandatory reporting."

Another way is GTN: gene expert test, trace and treat every case and contact and notify.

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Dr. K K Aggarwal

Source: Heart Care Foundation of India
Tags: Health

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