MDR-TB is a public health emergency

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Over the years, there has been an alarming increase in cases of drug-resistant TB in India. The prevalence of MDR TB is more than 2% in primary TB cases. India has the highest burden of TB patients, including drug resistant patients in the world. MDR-TB is a public health emergency, not only for patients but also for doctors, who are at risk of acquiring the infection from their patients.

Control of TB should therefore be of immediate priority for all stakeholders including health care providers and policy makers. Inaccurate diagnosis and/or delayed diagnosis, especially detection of infected but asymptomatic patients (latent TB) as well as incomplete treatment are fueling this epidemic of MDR TB.

The entire country is in a state of “angina” with an impending “TB attack”. GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) is used to relieve angina and prevent an anticipated heart attack such as before exercise.

A similar “GTN” is needed to prevent “TB attack”. It’s time to adopt and implement an intensive strategy to control this preventable and curable disease.

Yesterday, I had spoken about the IMA TB Initiative “DTR-C” “Diagnose, Treat, Report to track Contacts”.

We received suggestions and inputs on this, following which, we have altered the message of our campaign to “IMA TB Initiative: GTN”.

G: GeneXpert test (diagnose)
T: Treat (patients) & Trace (contacts)
N: Notify (mandatory)

Dr KK Aggarwal