World Tuberculosis Day – Health advisory by Apollo Expert

The Indian government is committed to a `Tuberculosis-Free India by 2025’, five years before WHO’s global deadline of 2030. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has initiated several strategies and devised time-bound outcome for meeting this deadline, however there are a number of issues yet to be addressed.

Lower reporting of TB cases

The first is related to lower reporting on TB cases by private medical practitioners. More than 56% of TB patients in India go to private doctors for TB treatment who avoid reporting the cases due to the stigma attached. A nationwide campaign is going on to counsel and sensitize these doctors. This will help in effectively addressing the impediments in controlling and eradicating TB and meeting the 2025 deadline.

Lack of full treatment for TB, Women becoming more vulnerable

Another issue is related to lack of full treatment for TB, which may go upto six months or more. Today, more women than men infected with Tuberculosis are left untreated and unreported. The government is actively addressing this through a sensitization programme in order to meet 2025 deadline.

Stigma attached with TB continues unabated for ages

Stigma against Tuberculosis patients is a worrying trend that has gone unabated since this dreaded disease came to be known. Social and health agencies have been addressing this for some time now and continue to bring in a change through campaigns and other forms of social and cultural activities. Mass participation and change in perception will help fight stigma attached to TB.

Measures and prevention against TB and stay healthy this summer

The treatment of TB is completely free and paid for by the government. As larger part of the country is going through seasonal change, transitioning from winter to summer, people are potentially at a higher health risk at this point of time. As this season also brings in bacteria and other viruses getting dormant, it is always advisable to bring in change in diet, increased physical activity and plan the day routine accordingly to beat the climatic changes and the hazards it comes with.
Dr. Sreenivasa Raju Kalidindi, CEO and Medical Director of Apollo Radiology International, explained about the various common symptoms of tuberculosis which people tend to miss out, “The initial symptom is generally a persistent low-grade fever accompanied by loss of appetite and then weight. However, symptoms vary depending upon the type of tuberculosis. For instance, pulmonary or pleural TB can lead to cough (which in severe cases can also have blood), sputum, chest pain, breathlessness, etc. One should be vigilant against such symptoms and get a proper diagnosis on time.”

Dr. Kalidindi further highlighted that while TB is treatable, timely diagnosis is essential to nip the disease in the bud. Early diagnosis and treatment also helps to limit the spread of disease and contributes in reducing TB burden on the country. To limit the spread of disease TB patients should also adopt preventive measures such as keeping nose and mouth covered while coughing and/or sneezing, disposing off used tissues properly, avoid going to public places or gatherings during infectious phase, among others.

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