The lessons learnt from the Covid pandemic can be used to eradicate Tuberculosis. Comment
Ttuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacteria which belongs to the Mycobacteriaceae family. Some Mycobacteria cause illnesses in humans such as tuberculosis and leprosy, while others infect a wide range of animals.The lungs (pulmonary TB) are the most common organs affected by tuberculosis in humans, although it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB). Tuberculosis is a very old illness that has been reported as far back as 3000 BC in Egypt. TB is a disease that can be treated and cured.
India and TB
- Due to the disruptions created by the Covid-19 epidemic, there were 18.05 lakh TB notifications in 2020, a decrease of 24% from 2019.
- At the time of diagnosis, around 42% of patients were started on a shorter Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB regimen, a decrease from 2019.
- Treatment success was 82 percent of the 24.04 lakh TB cases recorded in 2019, with a death rate of 4%.
- 4 percent of patients were lost to follow-up, and roughly 3% of patients had treatment failure or changed their regimen after starting therapy.
Lessons learnt from Covid to eradicate TB
- The biggest victory against Covid has been the speed with which vaccines were developed, scaled up and deployed. We need to replicate the same for tuberculosis, lobbying for funding from governments and industry to develop a successful vaccine for TB.
- Test, treat and track has been a strategy successfully employed for Covid. We need to aggressively scale up testing with innovative strategies such as active surveillance, bidirectional screening for respiratory tract infections using the most sensitive molecular diagnostics, and contact tracing.
- Covid has been a stellar example of how investments and actions can be swift, and public education can transform behaviour. Similar aspirations for TB can help turn this crisis into an opportunity to re-imagine our overburdened and underfunded systems.
- NPY (Nikshay Poshan Yojana): This programme aims to help TB patients with their diet by offering financial assistance.
- For tuberculosis, two vaccines, VPM 1002 and MIP (Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii), have been produced and discovered.
- National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025),
- The Nikshay Ecosystem is the national tuberculosis information system, which is a one-stop shop for managing patient data and monitoring programme activities and performance across the country.
- Campaign TB Harega Desh Jeetega: It was launched in September 2019 and represents the greatest degree of commitment to the eradication of tuberculosis.
- The Saksham Initiative: The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has been offering psychosocial counselling to DR-TB patients as part of a programme.
- India needs to triple the funding not just for TB but for health, nutrition and preventive services.
- India needs to invest in state-of-the-art technologies, build capacity, expand its health workforce and strengthen its primary care facilities.
- It also needs to consider telemedicine and remote support as important aspects of health services.
- It needs to build an open and collaborative forum where all stakeholders, especially affected communities and independent experts, take a lead role.
How to structure
- Give an intro about TB
- Mention the need for eradicating it, long with the statstics and data
- Explain how we can eradicate TB from the lessons lerant during the pandemic
- Mention the government measures
- Suggest further measures
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