Survivors declare war on TB in India- "All we need is your support!"
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Tuberculosis or TB is one of India’s severest health crises. It kills 1400 Indians everyday and constant delays and inaction has made this curable disease into a night mare for the ordinary Indian. We as survivors of TB have put together suggestions on critical areas, which need immediate attention and action for fighting TB in India. Government action on these issues is not only likely to enhance TB control but also assist in reaching its commitment of Universal Access. These suggestions are based on our experiences of surviving TB and working with numerous TB affected individuals who have reached out to us for support.
Ensuring Public Awareness Among Communities to Ensure Prevention and Reducing Stigma: Create a comprehensive multi-media awareness campaign to ensure awareness on- TB, its various forms, symptoms, the need for early diagnosis and treatment as well as stigma reduction.
Early and Accurate Diagnosis for Every Indian: Stop the use of obsolete TB diagnostic technologies; adopt and implement a large scale roll out of novel diagnostics; and offer drug-susceptibility testing (DST) to all TB patients to ensure rapid detection of all forms of TB.
Stem the crisis of DR TB: Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) TB is a frightening epidemic. Prevent it with early detection and treatment of MDR and expand access to the two new drugs Bedaqualine and Delamanid particularly to patients in the private sector.
Understanding what Patients Need: Nutrition and Support: Provide TB nutritional support, effective economic support programs and constant counseling of the patients and their families.
Health Information Systems: Create a robust comprehensive surveillance system for TB throughout the country to aid planning and action.
Engage the Private sector: Ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment is available free to all patients in the private sector and engage the private sector through innovative approaches.
Prioritize Changes in Treatment of TB: Create alignment between international practices and the public and private sectors. Provide drug susceptibility testing guided treatment as a norm to all suspected drug resistant TB patients to ensure appropriate treatment and prevention of MDR TB to XDR TB.
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