Bhopal 26.03.2022. According to the WHO, 500 000 people every year fall ill with Multi- Drug Resistant- Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) globally. MDR-TB is a global emergency.India carries a high burden of MDR-TB, said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor-National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme.
Addressing the reporters here Noted Epidemiologist Dr Purohit said that drug-resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by healthcare providers, poor quality drugs and when patients stop treatment prematurely.
“Around 40% Indian population is infected with TB due to which its elimination drive has taken a blow. Asymptomatic carriers and comorbid patients who discontinue treatment are found to be spreaders of the lung infection.,” said Principal Investigator for National Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme Dr Purohit.
“While pulmonary TB, which attacks the lungs, remains a problem, the incidence of extra-pulmonary TB is also fast catching up .”added he.
Renowned Disaster Respiratory Health Expert stated that multi-drug- resistant TB is especially a public health concern and challenge as the country struggles to meet its ambitious goal of becoming TB-free by 2025.
He averred that there has been a spike in MDR- TB cases in Madhya Pradesh in the past two years and this could be attributed to the extensive periods of Covid- induced lockdowns when the healthcare resources were focused on and diverted to controlling the pandemic. Like most other diseases, TB treatment, too, took a beating.
He pointed that this setback is particularly exacerbating as TB patients are known to develop the debilitating MDR-TB if their cure is left undiagnosed, interrupted or the medicine is discontinued before time.
He said that once the body fails to effectively respond to the drugs vital for healing, it becomes harder and longer to treat and often turns fatal, as per the WHO. At the same time, given the poor airborne infection control protocol in India, including the wearing of masks by the medical fraternity, the chances of the transmission of this disease are high.
“At this rate, it is estimated that a massive chunk of all TB cases would comprise MDR-TB in a decade because of primary transmission.” added he
He said that while MDR-TB is treatable and curable using second-line drugs, treatment options are limited, and medicines are both expensive and toxic.