The Union Health Ministry has introduced Bedaquiline into the national tuberculosis (TB) programme. This was among several initiatives Health Minister J P Nadda launched on Monday. Bedaquiline, which is a drug for Multi-Drug Resistant TB, is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India.
The sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care of patients. Bedaquiline will be administered to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug-resistant TB.
Nadda also inducted more than 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines into the Revised National TB Control Programme. This is a fully automated rapid molecular test which detects mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance simultaneously.
Till last year, 121 CBNAAT sites were functional in the country and they largely provided decentralised testing for detecting drug resistant TB. With the availability of these additional 500 machines, access to rapid and quality diagnosis of drug resistant TB will be ensured in all districts of India either directly or through a linkage by specimen transport mechanism.
Nadda also released the TB India 2016 Annual Report and the Technical and Operational Guidelines for TB Control in India 2016. The comprehensive set of guidelines are for managing all forms of TB, including drug-resistant TB and strategies for intensified case finding; adherence of more patient-centric approaches and single-window care for patients suffering from HIV and TB.
A handbook for ‘Healthcare Worker surveillance for TB in India’ and guidelines for prevention and management of adverse reactions associated with anti-TB drugs were the other e-books launched at the event. A new radio campaign with TB ambassador Amitabh Bachchan and a social media campaign were also launched.
The minister also launched the ‘Third-line ART programme for People Living with HIV’. The life-saving third-line ART costs nearly Rs 1.18 lakh per patient per year.