With a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering from multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis in the state, the city doctors have expressed the need to adopt an appropriate diagnostic mechanism that can help in accurate diagnosis of drug resistant strains of tuberculosis.
Ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, the leading doctors of the city highlighted the growing menace of MDR TB in the state at a programme in Kolkata Press Club on Tuesday.
The doctors stressed on bridging the gaps between the diagnosis of the disease and its management, preventing patients from dropping off treatment and ensuring that drug resistant strains are identified on time. They also advocated for 100 per cent diagnosis in the patients suffering from the disease.
World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics for 2014 suggest that there are 2.2 million TB cases in India out of total 9 million in the world. This shows that 1 in every 5 TB patients in the world is an Indian.
According to the doctors, the TB burden has been further aggravated by the emergence of newer, drug-resistant strains of TB.
As per the 2014 estimates, the disease is rampantly spreading with new cases emerging in 2-3 per cent while the number stands between 11 and 19 per cent in the patients who had earlier suffered from the disease.
Dr RK Das, General Secretary of the West Bengal Tuberculosis Association said that the emergence of multi-drug resistant TB has jeopardized global objectives of TB eradication.
“People here are facing problems like under-diagnosis and lack of completion of treatment and drug resistant has emerged as a new obstacle in the struggle,” Dr Das said.
“Drug resistance makes treatment difficult as second line drug regimens for treating MDR TB are toxic, costly and lengthy.
“This has put emphasis on better diagnostic mechanisms which can diagnose TB and identify drug resistance. The liquid culture tests have offered a new ray of hope in our fight against multi drug resistant TB.”
Besides improved diagnosis, management of TB needs much better precision and enforcement.
Dr Sudip Roy, consultant microbiologist and lab in charge of private hospital in the city said that in many cases, resistant TB results from inadequate TB care and irrational drugs use which causes the bacteria to develop drug resistance.
As a result, even the treatment regimen practiced in our country need a major overhaul to include strict protocols to prevent development of drug resistance, doctors suggested.
With this view, extreme care should be taken while treating the patients who should complete diagnosis with WHO approved diagnosis tests.