It has been more than two years that Anita (name changed) have been suffering from fever on and off, body ache, weakness etc. Anita says she has learnt to live with her condition. She sees a local medicine practitioner whenever the problem aggravates.
She was advised antibiotics as the doctor suspected Tuberculosis because of her condition such as enlargement of lymph. She did take the medicine for a few days but discontinued when she felt better. But the problem recurred some months later. Again the same treatment for few days but Anita failed to complete the full course again.
Anita is an example of one such case in Delhi. There are many migrant workers like her who move to a bigger city in India in search of livelihood and then migrate to another city when they find a better opportunity.
Thus tracking such cases of tuberculosis and giving them complete treatment becomes very difficult there by adding to a number of Multi – Drug – Resistant Tuberculosis cases.
Tuberculosis continues to be killer disease in India. It has been 68 years since the country has achieved Independence from British rule, but we are yet to free ourselves from the clutches of Tuberculosis. Though the Federal government claims to have come up with many initiatives to combat the disease, there are still a large number of people who are undiagnosed or are under diagnosed adding to the population of the affected people. And this happening despite treatment being available to completely cure the disease and bring a normal and healthy life to the person affected.
According to Medical Practitioners, the problem lies with the complications associated with the disease when people fail to undergo the diagnosis or they are lethargic enough to care for treatment or prevention.
Experts say one should be very clear of the symptoms of tuberculosis. One needs to go for immediate check-up when he or she realizes that they are suffering from continuous cough for more than two weeks and is not responding to any of the medications or to antibiotics or to any other home remedies.
Even if tests are negative in certain cases the doctors take a call on prescribing medicine for a period of six months to prevent one from having TB.
Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis happens when a person stops taking medication half way and then the treatment becomes very difficult. The patient does not respond to any treatment further. So it is essential for a patient to complete a full course to combat the disease.
The mode of transfer of infection from one person to another person is through air. And to add to this the rising air pollution majorly in the metropolitan cities, the number of cases are constantly increasing adding to the graph. The other cities too are in the grip of pollution these days.
TB increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Smokers are at risk to develop respiratory diseases.
Tuberculosis is a menace and a major problem worldwide.
The main reason that can be attributed to the hike in the number of tuberculosis cases is lack of Primary Health Care at the door step of every citizen. Primary Health Centres and their sub-centres are supposed to meet the health care needs of rural population.
But absence of the same in many areas or presence of non-functioning or mal-functioning Primary Health Care units has added to the dilapidated health status of the vulnerable population.
Poverty is another reason contributing to the rise of the disease. With either or no shelter and poor reach to good food, health and hygiene, the disease spreads like wild fire.
Again migration from one place to another in search of work is another factor. Many a times those starting treatment under the government of India’s DOTS initiative discontinue the treatment half way when they migrate another place there by adding to the number of Multi Drug Resistant cases.
An estimated 40 percent of Indian population is infected with Tuberculosis. Every year 12 lakh Indians are identified with newly diagnosed TB. Only 58 percent are diagnosed and the rest are left undiagnosed or under diagnosed.
Over 10 lakh Indians with Tuberculosis are not notified. Over 40 percent Indian children are currently under diagnosed in India. TB affects everyone irrespective of age, class or caste. It can affect anyone at any time, be they rich or poor. It effects anyone irrespective of the background they hail from.
The World Health Organisation has come up with a strategy to counter the killer disease and make this world a more comfortable place to live in.
The strategy aims to end the global TB epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95 percent and to cut new cases by 90 percent between 2015 and 2035, and to ensure that no family is burdened with catastrophic expenses due to TB. It sets interim milestones for 2020, 2025, and 2030.
The resolution calls on governments to adapt and implement the strategy with high-level commitment and financing. It reinforces a focus within the strategy on serving populations highly vulnerable to infection and poor health care access, such as migrants.
The strategy and resolution highlight the need to engage partners within the health sector and beyond, such as in the fields of social protection, labour, immigration and justice.
The WHO plays a critical role in monitoring drug quality in poorer countries through its Prequalification of Medicines Program, which ensures that treatments supplied by U.N. agencies such as UNICEF are of acceptable quality.