Experts stress continuation of success in TB treatment

TB treatment in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is likely to achieve the tuberculosis related MDG target for 2015 if the present success in TB healthcare can be sustained, said experts at a roundtable on Tuesday. They stressed accountability and transparency of the Global Fund that supports the government’s National TB Control Programme.

They said these at a roundtable titled ‘Role of Global Fund in National TB Control Programme’, organised at the BRAC Centre. The National Control Programme (NTP), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, daily New Age and BRAC organised the event, presided over and moderated by Mir Ashfaquzzaman, deputy editor, New Age.

Dr. Md. Akramul Islam, associate director, Health, Nutrition and Population Programme of BRAC, gave the welcome speech at the event, also participated in by Professor Mohammad Rashidul Hasan, director of National Chest Disease Hospital, Nawazish Ali Khan, adviser (programme), ATN Bangla, Dr MA Hamid, deputy programme manager, NTP, and other representatives from different government and non-government agencies and TB experts. Dr. Md. Mojibur Rahman, national programme consultant, NTP, presented the keynote paper.

Speakers at the event said Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course, DOTS in short, is an effective treatment management for tuberculosis that helped Bangladesh achieve big success in controlling the disease. They, however, mentioned a prevalence survey that Bangladesh government is currently doing will better reflect the real situation of the country in this regard in 2015, when it will end.

The speakers also stressed formulating of a special strategy to treat the poor TB patients in the urban areas as a large part of them are floating people. They also emphasised better availability of GeneXpert machine, a recently developed instrument to diagnose the infection.

The keynote paper mentioned that Bangladesh is sixth among 22 countries most affected in TB. According to the statistics on 2012, 45 individuals in every 100 thousand people died in TB. In the same period 434 new and old patients in every 100 thousand were diagnosed with the infection. In Bangladesh 1.34 per cent among newly diagnosed and 20 per cent among old patients are suffering from Multi-drug Resistant TB.

Since 2004 the Switzerland-based GFATM, also known as Global Fund, has been giving financial support to Bangladesh in controlling the disease. Since now it has supported Bangladesh with $122.68 million.

Experts estimate that 70 per cent of total tuberculosis patients are diagnosed at present and the success rate of treatment is around 92 per cent. Bangladesh will achieve the MDG target for 2015 in TB treatment if it can retain the present success rate.

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