Provide bedaquiline to all MDR TB patients: Central govt directive

The central government has issued a directive to all civic and government hospitals to provide bedaquiline to all Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) patients. Earlier, it would be administered to few MDR patients who fit a certain criteria  

Provide bedaquiline to all MDR TB patients: Central govt directive

Despite significant progress over the last decades, TB continues to be the top infectious killer disease worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day. The emergence of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) poses a major health threat and could put at risk gains made in efforts to end TB.

India currently contributes 25% of all multi-drug resistant TB cases globally. There are at least 1.4 lakh drug resistant TB patients, and this is a conservative estimate. Bedaquiline is prescribed only to drug resistant TB patients who have no other treatment options. Without the drug, their death is nearly inevitable.

In Mumbai, 30 to 35,000 patients are diagnosed with TB each year. In the year 2017 – 4,891 patients were diagnosed with Multi-Drug Resistant TB. Mumbai accounts for 70% of Multi-Drug Resistant patients in the state.

The central government had issued this directive, keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to #EndTB by 2025.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, BMC Additional Commissioner, R A Kundan, stated, “There is an increasing number of Multi-Drug Resistant patients in Mumbai. The central government has informed us to make bedaquiline accessible to all MDR patients. This move is in line with PM Modi initiative to eradicate TB by 2025. Bedaquiline is very effective in curing TB as it fights against the TB virus which has become resistant to other drugs.”

Maharashtra Urban Mission Additional Director, Dr Satish Pawar said, “It is true, that the number of TB patients is rising. Bedaquiline should be provided to all Multi-Drug Resistant patients in each district of Maharashtra. Earlier only a select few MDR patients who fit a certain criteria were given a dosage of bedaquiline. We are considering to start Drug Resistant centres in government medical colleges in the state.”

Ganesh Acharya, a social worker for tuberculosis and AIDS , said, “Bedaquiline is really beneficial for Multi-Drug Resistant patients but it cannot be given to young children and AIDS patients, although, another drug called delamanid can be a good option for them. It is still being discussed whether we can administer these patients with delamanid.”