Yesterday was the world tuberculosis awareness day,
The government of India has launched Revised National Tuberculosis program in goa, the event at GCCI was to create an awareness of it all. The chief guest Francis D’Souza I was very articulate and very crisp in what he had to share, I really admired the man for not venturing into Googled details to an audience who probably know much more about it since they are working hands on. he had just one question to ask his audience which was probably the most relevant… “x– Number of people dying in Brussels in a bomb blast makes headlines, why are we not making headlines about TB which kills 2.5 lakhs of people each year?
There was no vocal media person present who could answer his question, nor was anyone present.
Technically the world Tuberculosis day was March 25th.
The event was attended by and large by people from the medical fraternity, few TB caregivers. The session was entirely technical focusing on diagnosis, the availability of CNAAT, facility.
The Key facts of TB are
- TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS the world’s top infectious disease.
- 2014 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million people died from the disease, including 380 among people living with HIV.
- 95% of TB deaths occur in low and middle income countries
- TB is among the top 5 causes for death of women between 15-44yrs.
- Globally we are talking about 480000 people developing MDR-TB drug resistant ones.
Facts in India:
- 40% of the Indian population is infected with TB.
- 18 Lakh people in India develop TB, each year, of which 8 lakhs are sputum positive that means the rest are not lung or chest infection, but emerge elsewhere in the body.
- Since the most effected age group is 15 – 55 it causes tremendous economic disruptions.
- TB is associated with social stigma, so many cases go unreported.
- TB kills more women in India than any other infectious disease.
Ending TB will only be achieved with greater collaboration within and across the government and partners from civil society, communities, researchers, the private sector and development agencies. This means taking a whole of society and multidisciplinary approach, in the context of universal health coverage.
There are programs for developing diagnostic test, drugs and vaccines to improve delivery we are still talking about dealing with the disease after diagnosis.
We like to say that fragile health system and low economic conditions are challenges, but from what I can see, the challenge is creating the awareness.
Somethings that did occur to me…
- If a day dedication is meant to create awareness, then why were there no media? The reporters and doordarshan took off along with the minister.
- Why did we not create an action plan?
- One of the doctors I do not know her name, I presume she is a doctor, said,”oh! I have anganwadi teachers I train them” – how much are going to burden the anganwadi teachers,
- How about routine checkups, and public health education by the primary health centers at the schools of the community they cater to?
- How about every news paper particularly vernacular running a health awareness column?
- How about looking at other streams of health care?
- We are talking about Pharma-vigilance for drug efficacy, how about pharma-vigilance that prohibits over the counter selling of drugs?
Like Mr. Roland Martins pointed out, the purpose of the day was to create awareness, identify the weak links of where we are failing and create an action plan. We need prevent health to prevent, and then diagnosis to properly diagnose, and finally the treatment and patient care. If health education does occur, we can go about investing in research and marketing of drugs and diagnostic and make our pounds, dollars and rubles.