24 March 2012
By Siddharth Gaikwad
Figure reflects success of dots strategy, say officials
World Tuberculosis Day
Around 85 per cent of tuberculosis patients in Pune and Pimpri–Chinchwad have been cured in the last 10 years, say civic officials.
“Pune city reported 1,412 TB cases in 2010 and the number rose to 3,650 TB cases in 2011. The cure rate has been over 85% for the last 10 years or so,” said N D Thakur, head of the city TB control unit at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). “A full course of medication can cure those with TB.”
Pimpri–Chinchwad reports similar results. “Between October 1998 and 2010, 20,845 tuberculosis (TB) patients have undergone DOTS treatment in Pimpri–Chinchwad. Of these, 17,655 — 85 per cent, have been completely cured,” said K M Khilare, city TB control officer, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
DOTS or Directly Observed Treatment Short course is the internationally recommended strategy for TB control and has been recognised as a highly efficient and cost–effective strategy. Directly observed means that someone watches to make sure people take their daily medicine.
“In 2010, 1,988 TB patients were given DOTS treatment, of which 1,683 were completely cured,” says Khilare. This shows that the TB can be cured through DOTS in six to eight months.”
Of the remaining 15 per cent, deaths constitute less than 5 per cent, those who discontinue treatment less than 4 per cent, relapses more than 3 per cent and failures up to 3 per cent. The failure category includes those patients who do not respond to treatment.
In PMC areas there are 29 diagnostic centres for tuberculosis. Of the 385 treatment centres, 44 are run by the PMC.
Giving details of facilities available for treatment at Pimpri–Chinchwad, Khilare said, “Two TB Control Units are functional in Pimpri–Chinchwad — Talera hospital and Bhosari hospital. The civic body’s 28 DOTS treatment centres are operational in the city.”
There are also 17 certified centres that conduct free sputum tests.
Efforts are also being made to involve more private doctors in order to reach out to more people and control the spread of TB. In 1999, there were just nine private medical professionals involved in TB control work in Pimpri–Chinchwad. Only 29 patients were enrolled with them for treatment among the 1,042 TB patients. “Now, there are 252 private medical professionals involved in the TB control work and 905 patients of a total of 1,857 TB patients (around 49 per cent) are taking DOT treatment,” Khilare said. In all, 252 private medical professionals, seven NGOs and six social health volunteers are involved in controlling the spread of TB in Pimpri–Chinchwad, he added.
According to the World Health Organisation, in India, which accounts for 30% of the global burden of TB, the DOTS programme is undergoing huge expansion as treatment success rates double and death rates fall. Government commitment, community involvement, and partnerships have all been key factors in the success of the DOTS programme in India.Key Facts
- Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
- TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
- About one–third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.
- People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill with TB of 10%. However persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.