HYDERABAD: In the wake of staggeringly worrying figures with regard to Tuberculosis cases in the state coming to the fore, experts have expressed concerns about controlling the disease.
According to official figures, an astonishing 30,847 tuberculosis patients in Telangana were left untreated last year. Even as TB India has recorded the number of patients treated in Telangana at 41,287, a recent government report stated that the number of TB patients treated was 42 per cent less than the estimated figure by the World Health Organisation.
As per the official report by TB India, Hyderabad tops the chart with highest number of cases in Telangana (6,612 cases), followed by Ranga Reddy (5,791) and Mahbubnagar (4,076).
Taking a serious note of the situation, doctors feel that TB prevention must remain a public health priority for the nation and feel that the treatment of the disease still remains a major challenge.
“Many people falsely believe that TB is a disease of the past, but to relegate it to the pages of our history books, we must identify better ways to detect and treat TB and we must stop the emergence of further drug-resistance,” Dr SA Rafi, consultant pulmonologist at Care Hospital, said.
Experts feel that the current methods to treat the disease are too weak and require further research. “Even though we can typically cure these cases through complex care, the extremely high toll on the quality of life for patients is no less tragic. Many of those being treated for drug-resistant TB must endure severe side-effects such as hearing loss, depression, or even psychosis. Patients also face home or hospital isolation,” Dr Rafi explained.
“In a shrinking world where diseases know no boundaries, the severe global TB epidemic poses a direct threat to all the states. TB is creating limited treatment options and in a worse-case scenario could lead to virtually untreatable TB strains,” he added.
The World Health Organisation has called for global solidarity and action for a new 20-year strategy to end the global TB epidemic. “TB is a disease that does not know boundaries — in that sense, it is a ‘democratic ‘ disease and anyone can get it. In fact there are over 10 lakh patients with TB who are not detected as of now . The problem of drug-resistant TB is also becoming widespread. A partnership between the government-run programmes and private practitioners and hospitals is required to eliminate the disease,” Dr Sai Praveen Haranath, senior consultant pulmonologist & critical care specialist at Apollo Hospital, opined.