Inspirations 2019 calls for increased awareness on TB

May 8, 2019 0 By FM

Pulmonologists across Kerala gathered together at the first edition of ‘Inspirations2019’, organized by Inspire, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre and Kottayam Respiratory Society on March 24, 2019 to commemorate ‘World Tuberculosis Day’.

The conference highlighted the rise of a global epidemic of tuberculosis and the need for resilience, stressing the strategy undertaken by India to eliminate the disease, and demonstrated various modalities and diagnostic methods such as CB NAAT.

“The convention was organized as a part of the 60th anniversary of our respiratory department and is aimed at creating awareness on tuberculosis among current practitioners and students,” said organising chairperson Dr P Sukumaran, President of  Kottayam Respiratory Society and
Head of Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Pushpagiri Medical College, Tiruvalla.

TB is one of the top ten causes of death in the world today, and India has the world’s highest burden of TB, accounting for 27 percent of all cases and over 30 percent of all TB-related deaths. Still, India has committed to eliminating TB by 2025.

“At the national level, India is still focusing on the diagnosis of all the patients, including those in the private sector. So the efforts that are currently followed would actually result in  more patients being diagnosed by 2025, rather than a reduction,” said former WHO consultant Dr. Sanjeev Nair, who is also Associate Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Government Medical College, Trivandrum.

“To have an elimination strategy that is successful, we need to bring [TB numbers] to 5% of what was there in 2015. The WHO or UN target for elimination is by 2035, but India is trying to do something over and above what the world aims at, which is pretty ambitious. But it will take some more time, as it requires lots of work and patience,” he added.

India being a high disease burden country has more cases of LTBI whose treatment still remains a problem. Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is when a person is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but does not have active tuberculosis.

The WHO has recommended on treating active TB alone in high disease burden countries like India. This calls for unattended cases of latent TB infection (LTBI) which would be left untreated making India’s near goal of eliminating TB farther.

“In low TB prevalence countries like the US, LTBI needs to be treated because there is a risk of it developing into a progressive primary or secondary TB infection. Whereas in India almost 40-60% of the population are already infected, and latent infection is also prevalent, thus we need to focus on treating the active patients first instead of focusing on the latent TB. While some certain subset of patients can be selected, as in HIV patients with latent TB infection,” said Dr. C P Muraly, Pulmonologist, Government Medical College, Thrissur.

The event hosted a state level quiz programme exclusively on tuberculosis for postgraduates in pulmonary medicine and general medicine.