- Tuberculosis (TB) was responsible for 1.7 million deaths in 2016, despite most cases being curable.
- Over 10 million people contract TB every year. WHO South-East Asia Region, which hosts about one-fourth of the global population, shares a disproportionate 46% global TB disease burden.
- India continues to have the highest number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world, stated the Global TB Report 2017 released by World Health Organization (WHO).
- On PM Modi’s direction, a national strategic plan has been developed to eradicate TB by the year 2020 to 2025.
- In 2017, a Lancet study had predicted an increase in drug-resistant TB cases in four high-burden countries, including India.
In order to curb the growing TB menace in India, the Union government led by PM Narendra Modi, has devised a strategy to eradicate TB by 2025. This week itself, India hosted global TB experts in order to form a concrete policy to #EndTB.
In his inaugural address of the #EndTB summit in Delhi, PM Narendra Modi said, “Frontline workers play a very important role in TB elimination; they have demonstrated a great courage in TB elimination.”
Pharmacist and chemist across the country, also play the role of frontline workers, since they directly deal with the TB patient.
During a discussion at the event, Dr Sunil Khaparde, Deputy Director General of countries TB program (DDGTB), addressed the chemists, he said, “India is witnessing a surge in TB cases. But, PM Narendra Modi dreams of a TB free India by 2025. At Delhi’s EndTB summit the government has launched a TB Free India campaign. Also private medical practitioners have been asked to notify the patients as well.”
He added, “Pharmacists are working in tandem with the government to make the country TB free. They are the frontline workers, who come in direct contact with the patients. And that’s the reason; the government has shouldered the responsibility of distributing TB medicines upon the pharmacists.”
While addressing the program, Manjiri Gharat, Vice President of the Pharmaceutical Association said, “Many TB patients seek treatment in the private hospitals. That’s the reason; government doesn’t have the proper database of the TB patients. Now, chemists have been entrusted with the responsibility to provide DOTS medicine to TB patients. We are in a process of facilitating the training for chemists. So that, they can easily identify the TB patients and give the appropriate medicine.”
Dr Daksha Shah, Head of Mumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC) TB control unit said, “The chemists are doing a tremendous job. The government has taken a decision to distribute TB medicines through private chemists. But, for that, chemist will have to submit the schedule H drugs database to the state government”
While Maharashtra state’s joint director of TB, Dr Sanjeev Kamble said, “We are working with an aim to eradicate TB by 2025. And I am optimistic that, in the way in which we are working, we will surely be able meet the deadline set by the government. Out of the total cases which are diagnosed in India, 50 per cent cases are from public hospital and 50 per cent are from private hospitals. We are trying to find out the missing patients data.”
Dr Rao Valdamudi, President, Indian Pharmaceutical Association, said, “In India, there are 8 lakh pharmacists, and they are working with the government. Pharmacists play a pivotal role in the healthcare system and now, the government has decided to take help of the pharmacists in the TB elimination campaign. Pharmacists are also helping the government to trace the missing TB patients.”