MDR-TB: a global challenge

Chhatra Karki, Nepal
(First published in Kapan Online, Kathmandu, Nepal on 13 November 2013)
It is believed that  tuberculosis (TB) is no more a death causing disease and few months of medical treatment can cure the disease. But, the Multidrug Resistant (MDR)-TB has become a major challenge all over the world. MDR-TB is a type of disease which resist to the drugs ‘Rifampicin’ and ‘Isoniazid’. As the MDR-TB resists the drugs, its treatment has turned expensive. As per the experts, It takes a more than two years of treatment to cure the disease.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) report published in 2013, altogether the number of MRD-TB infected patients stands at 3.6 percent out of total patients suffering from TB worldwide. Nevertheless, there are 20.2 per cent patients, who are undergoing treatment at different medical centers, are also suffering from the same disease of MRD-TB.

According to report, the number of MDR-TB infected patients across the globe stands at 4,50,000. However, 1,70,000 people had lost their lives in 2012 as they were suffering from the same form of TB. The report has revealed that the disease is widely spread in Eastern Europe and Asia. The government has failed to ensure the proper treatment of the disease even in Europian countries, including France. The earlier records have shown that the number of MDR-TB patients was increasing day after day, lately.

While talking about Nepal, the severe challenges have been added as the government is yet to come up with the proper drug to defy the disease. It has become a challenge to the public health sectors. Instead of lowering down the number of patients, the MDR-TB patients are significantly increasing day after day.

The medical doctors have said the medical science has come with the drugs and methods in a bid to permanently cure the disease. “The DOTS-Plus program should be reached to village level,” said Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, a senior Chest and TB consultant. He further said that the awareness programs should also be carried at both national and local level.

However, Nepal is jointly taking initiative with WHO and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease- The Union since 1996, to seek the prevention of the disease. Among the new TB-infected  patients, 2.7 per cent patients are suffering from MDR-TB in Nepal.According to National Tuberculosis Centre, 30,000 patients are newly diagnosed to the disease. Nevertheless, 11.3 per cent patients are infected with MDR-TB, out of the total patients suffering from the TB. MDR-TB was seen in those patients who were smokers. Likewise, the study has also shown that the MDR-TB was further complicated in them, who has not got a completed treatment.

The MDR-TB has become a roar to the world as the medical science and concerned authorities are yet to find its permanent prevention and cure. However, in an effort to eradicate the disease, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease- The Union has been carrying its programs in various countries. “The MDR-TB has become a hue and cry for the world,” said Jose Luis Castro, the Union and Interim Executive Director of The Union. He further said that as its treatment is costlier, the economic burden is added over the respective family and the government,“The MDR-TB patients are found across the globe. The efforts should be taken to stop the spread of the disease, which has become a big threat for the world.”

Chhatra Karki, Nepal
Citizen News Service - CNS 
(First published in Kapan Online, Kathmandu, Nepal on 13 November 2013)

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