Medica leads TB awareness by unveiling strategies to combat the disease

In recognition of upcoming World Tuberculosis Day on 24th March’24, Medica Group of Hospitals, the leading private hospital chain in Eastern India, organized a press conference on 21st March, Thursday, at the Press Club, Kolkata. Tuberculosis (TB) poses a significant public health challenge in India, with the highest global burden in terms of both cases and fatalities. India represents 28% of all TB cases globally. The event aimed to raise awareness about TB among the public, in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) theme ‘Yes! We can end TB’Dr. Debraj Jash, Director, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Medica Superspecialty Hospital shared crucial insights and essential facts about TB along with Dr. Saumitra Bharadwaj, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Medica Superspecialty Hospital. They emphasized the importance of early detection, prompt treatment, and cleared the misconceptions surrounding the disease.

TB continues to pose a significant global health challenge, but concerted efforts are underway to achieve a TB-free India by 2030. Despite a marginal decline in TB cases from 22.4 lakhs in 2022 to 22.3 Lakhs in 2023, much remains to be done to combat this infectious disease as official data revealed that while many individuals haven’t registered for the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, a vital financial program by the central government, some have yet to avail themselves of its benefits. The reporting of tuberculosis (TB) cases to government health centers is integral to disease surveillance and the implementation of effective public health measures. This ensures that individuals affected by TB receive appropriate care and that preventive interventions are swiftly deployed to halt transmission. In 2022, a landmark total of TB notifications was recorded, with the private sector contributing the highest ever count of 7,33,694 cases, amounting to 77.1% of the target set. This trend continued into 2023, with the private sector reporting a further increase to 8,38,116 cases, reaching a record 89% of the target.

Medical technology has transformed the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Procedures such as bronchoscopy and biopsy have enhanced diagnostic accuracy, particularly in cases involving lymph nodes, leading to timely interventions and better patient outcomes. TB treatment covers both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains. Recent advancements in laboratory capabilities and technology have dramatically reduced diagnostic report turnaround time from 40 days to merely 2-3 days, facilitating swift treatment initiation. Progress in treating TB, especially drug-resistant strains, has been notable. New drugs like Bedaquiline and Delamanid have reduced treatment duration from 24 months (about 2 years) to just 9 months, with nearly perfect success rates. The availability of all oral medications further improves treatment accessibility and compliance.

While discussing tuberculosis (TB), Dr. Debraj Jash emphasized, “TB knows no economic boundaries; it can touch lives indiscriminately. Vigilance and notification to government centers are the strongest tools in combating its spread, facilitating coordinated public health responses. With advancements like Bronchoscopy, Sputum Smear Microscopy, and Biopsy, our ability to detect TB has markedly improved. To achieve the ambitious goal of a TB-free India by 2025, we must encourage patients to seek treatment and take prompt action after detection. It is important to remember that TB is not a death sentence; it’s a curable condition.”

After the pandemic, the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) by the Union Government, picked up speed in 2022 to stop TB by 2025. 

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Mr. Ayanabh Debgupta, Joint Managing Director, Medica Group of Hospitals, shared, “In our relentless fight against TB, Medica Group of Hospitals stands unwavering in its dedication to enhance awareness, improve access to advanced diagnostics and treatments, and build partnerships for a TB free India. Medica shall continue to work towards spreading awareness about TB and educate masses so that more people are vigilant and report to doctors at the onset.”

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