WHILE DAILY drug regimen has been introduced from February this year, setting up Family Direct Observed Treatment (DOT) providers is now the new link in actively treating tuberculosis. This year, the theme of World TB day (March 24) is ‘Unite to End TB’. According to Dr Sanjeev Kamble, joint director of health (TB and Leprosy), a new concept has been introduced of identifying family DOT providers. “One of the family members is identified as a DOT provider and a system of notifying the health officials that drugs are being taken daily has been introduced. In cases where people have co infections of HIV and TB, a 99 DOTS programme has been introduced where the patient has to send a missed call to the health officer after taking the daily pill.
Ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day, as the world unites to end TB through better awareness, the Association of Hospital (AOH) called on the authorities from member hospitals and general population to redouble their efforts and work together towards controlling tuberculosis and to move faster toward elimination of the disease with updated knowledge about the disease.
Apart from raising awareness about its diagnosis and treatment, it is also important to spread awareness about the need for maintaining healthy lifestyles and nutrition levels to bolster the body’s defences against the disease. Doctors from the Columbia Asia Hospitals in Pune stated that 8 out of 10 people carry the dreaded TB bacteria in the dormant form.
Dr. Vaibhav Pandharka, Pulmonologist of the hospital, said that since the bacillus is widely prevalent in India, Indians are highly exposed to the bacteria. “If you are weak, your nutrition levels are poor, and you lead unhealthy lifestyles that further weaken your body, you become an easy prey to it. On the other hand, if you maintain healthy lifestyles and keep your immune system healthy, your body may even fight off the bacteria,” he said.
He went on to junk the popular misconception that people in slums are more likely to be affected by the disease. “While the disease does affect more people from economically poor strata, well-off people are certainly not immune to it,” he said. Students living in hostels where they share space with several others, people travelling daily in crowded public transport, living in houses with inadequate ventilation in congested cities are all prone to catch TB infection, he said.