The World TB Day is observed on March 24. This year also rituals would be followed on the same lines with seminars and literature distributed among the people. But some studies have come out with shocking details over the ineffectiveness of the drugs given to patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). Like most parts of the country TB in Jammu and Kashmir has a social stigma attached to it which makes the situation worse particularly in the rural areas. The doctors posted at government hospitals say private consultants aggravate the situation by advising patients not to rely on Direct Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) provided at government-run-hospitals. The notions attached with the TB need to be dispelled, so that more and more people come forward for the treatment. People especially women say diagnosis of this disease usually make the chances of marriage bleak. In Kashmir it has been found that the people living in crowded homes with poor ventilation usually fall prey to this disease. And further close contact of the patient with people increases its spreading. India carries the burden of one third of the World’s TB patients. Despite being fully curable, TB is considered an economic burden on India as the disease left untreated leads to chronic illness, loss of livelihood and pushes families into poverty. Experts say patients who do not finish their lengthy course of treatment present the bacterium with the perfect environment for developing further resistance. The resistant form of TB (MDR- Multi Drug Resistant TB or XDR- Extremely Drug Resistant TB) is difficult and expensive to treat and fails to respond to standard first-line drugs. What is available according to the study is the presence of totally drug resistant TB. The national TB control programme is behind schedule with respect to critical programmes including the expansion of the GeneXpert pilot programme, scaling up of drug sensitivity testing, and the introduction of a child-friendly paediatric TB drug. Only sustained action on several fronts can help bring TB under check. The global war will not be successful till India wins the battle within its own boundaries first.
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