By Mayank Jain:
Delhi saw a group of several leading chest physicians and doctors coming together in an event on 23rd March to celebrate a year’s completion of an innovative initiative to counter the deadly disease of Tuberculosis called Initiative for Promoting Affordable and Quality TB Tests (IPAQT). This event brought together representatives from multiple backgrounds and promoted healthy discussion on the disease and it’s control among TB treating physicians, Central TB division (GoI), private sector labs, various public health NGOs, academics, and civil society representatives.
“It’s important that the private and public sector work towards this tackling this disease together. IPAQT is one step, but physicians need to also work with the national TB program to ensure their patients are completing treatment and cases being notified.”
IPAQT seeks to lower the costs associated with TB control tests across the country with WHO intervention by bringing together major laboratories and testing clinics. The participating laboratories have committed to abide by government guidelines and notify the cases as well as provide affordable care in Revised National TB Control Program.
The press release highlights the achievements of the program in the following words:
“IPAQT, in existence for under a year, has already led to over 40,000 TB suspects being tested at more affordable prices in the private sector. Patients have not only benefited from cheaper diagnosis, but the adoption of these tests have meant patients have been diagnosed earlier, more accurately, and with information on whether they have drug resistance or not.”
The very next day BRICS countries, which are a group of fast developing countries in the world including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa came together on the World TB day to call for united action against the menace of Tuberculosis. The countries have a combined population of almost 3 billion and a combined GDP of (USD) $16 trillion.
The “Parliamentary Alliance against TB” was created by the Brazilian Congress to support TB legislative actions. Brazil has increased funding for TB from $5 million in 2002 to over $70 million in 2013. Today, the national TB program is entirely domestically financed.
Similarly, Russia has put TB as its one of the top priorities and the government’s commitment has resulted in almost 50% decline in TB mortality as compared to the 2005 levels. India has become a pioneer by leading from the front with its Revised National TB Control Program which has placed 45000 patients on treatment but the destination is still far with lots of challenges trodden in the road.
China has achieved significant progress over the last 20 years by halving prevalence of the most infectious form of TB and reducing mortality by 80%”, says Li Bin, Minister of the NHFPC. “Over the past years China has also taken decisive measures to confront the epidemic of multidrug-resistant TB.”
“In South Africa’s mines, as many as one in every 15 miners get sick with TB, which is the highest rate among any population in the world. The head of the TB snake is in South Africa, with its fangs in the country’s mines and its tail reaching out to neighbouring countries”, said Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa Minister of Health and Chair of the Stop TB Partnership Board.
The countries stand united against preventing further outbreak of the deadly disease and also seek to ensure care for those affected with united action. The real war on TB though, can only be won through education and awareness. A lot of people don’t even know the basics and get lost in the jargon that is doled out to them. Talking about it and discussing the preventive measures is the only way to go to eradicate TB cases or at least minimize them in the near future so that they don’t come in the way of economic progress.