TB treatment during Covid pandemic: Experts raise questions over India’s approach

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New Delhi | November 17, 2020 1:39 PM

TB has infected over 10 million (1 crore), people. Around 1.4 million (14 lakh) people died due to the infectious disease in 2019.

tb full form, tb treatment, tb test, tb treatment duration, tb treatment side effects, tb treatment guidelines, tb treatment in India, tb treatment guidelines IndiaThe Coronavirus pandemic has made TB even more threatening as a lesser number of people are getting diagnosis since all focus is on Covid-19. (Reuters image)

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has an adverse impact on the global response to TB services, claimed the World Health Organisation (WHO). Now the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans frontières), a no-profit organization, has advised the countries to step treatment, testing, and prevention mechanism for tuberculosis (TB). Experts have advised that new DR-TB drugs Bedaquiline and Delamanid are needed to be used on large scale during the Coronavirus pandemic. They claimed that India has been following a very conservative approach pertaining to the new TB medicines, according to the Indian Express report.

In India, 1,19,960 MDR-TB patients were eligible for Bedaquiline till March 2020. Out of the total patients, only 10,845 had received Bedaquiline, and the remaining 1,09,115 patients did not get the medicine. This has happened even as a quarter of DR-TB patients live in India, as per the IE report.

How deadly is Tb?

TB has infected over 10 million (1 crore), people. Around 1.4 million (14 lakh) people died due to the infectious disease in 2019. The Coronavirus pandemic has made TB even more threatening as a lesser number of people are getting diagnosis since all focus is on Covid-19. The WHO has exhorted countries to step the testing policies to avoid TB infected people go missing.

Doctors Without Borders has published a report carrying a survey on 37 high TB-burden countries. Doctors Without Borders’ report has shown that only 22 per cent of 37 countries have allowed the start of TB treatment. Apart from this, 39 per cent of the countries are yet to adopt an all-oral shorter treatment procedure. Around 28 per cent of 37 countries surveyed are using injectable medicines to treat DR-TB infected children, the IE report said.

Back in April this year, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed all governments in states and union territories to ensure the diagnosis and treatment of TB patients under the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) must not get affected due to the Coronavirus pandemic situation.

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