'More awareness needed to eradicate TB'

'More awareness needed to eradicate TB'

Govt to bring prescriptions under scanner

Delhi has brought down the tuberculosis death rate from 22 per cent in 1996 to nearly three per cent in 2011, said Ashok Kumar, deputy director general, Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Delhi on Saturday. 

On World TB Day, Saturday, an awareness programme was held at Dilli Haat, Pitampura in north Delhi.

Stop TB 

This year's global theme for World TB Day is “Stop TB in my lifetime” directed at encouraging zero deaths from tuberculosis through regular treatment.  It also outlined the message that it is preventable. 

Expressing concern over irrational use of drugs to treat tuberculosis by private practitioners, Kumar added that the government has planned to rope in chemists and bring prescriptions under its scanner.

DOTS

“To check unregulated drug use, we are thinking of a mechanism where we can audit the prescriptions received by chemists. 

“They can direct the patient to the Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) centre. “At the same time, this will help us know what drugs are being prescribed by private physicians for the disease,” said Kumar, adding that the “ethical issues will be considered.”

Under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) implemented in 1993, patients are given the six-month long DOTS. 

However, the challenge to eradicate the disease remains as more than 40 per cent of Delhi's population is infected with TB germs lying dormant in people. 

“We must encourage people to get their tests done. There are over 600 DOTS centres in the city which provide free treatment and medication. Completing the course of six to eight months is equally important otherwise TB can relapse,” said Dr S K Arora, state TB control officer, Delhi. 

Dr N V Kamat, director, health services stressed on spreading more awareness and how TB can be cured.

More programmes 

“We have to send across the message that TB is curable as many people do not know that it can be treated. 

“More programmes should be organised to disseminate information regarding it,” he said. Over 2,000 patients, NGOs, chests clinics from across Delhi and other residents participated in the programme to share information on prevention of tuberculosis. 

The programme was made interactive by cultural events such as nukkad naatak, puppet show, painting and poster exhibition, magic show, music and dance. 

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