Daily drug regimen for TB rolled out

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday rolled out the daily drug regimen for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), across all states.

As per the new policy, the patients will be given fixed drug combinations (FDCs), three or four drugs in a single pill daily — being administered thrice a week till now.

The move was taken after the Health Ministry held a meeting of state Health Secretaries and checked the preparedness of implementing the new policy.

Director General of Health Services Jagdish Prasad said that all drug procurement and training is complete in the states.

According to other officials at the Ministry, children suffering from tuberculosis need not take the bitter tablets anymore. Since 1997, under the RNTCP, patients were being given drugs thrice a week (the intermittent drug regimen).

The World Health Organisation revised its TB management guidelines in 2010, recommending that the daily drug regimen be adopted under the RNTCP.

According to a global report by the WHO, India tops the list of seven nations, accounting for 64 per cent of the 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide in 2016.

It is followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.

“In 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, 10 per cent of which were people living with HIV. Seven countries accounted for 64 per cent of the total burden, with India bearing the brunt,” the report said.

An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB, including nearly 400,000 co-infected with HIV, recording a drop by four per cent as compared to 2015.

Also, India, along with China and Russia, accounted for almost half of the 490,000, multidrug-resistant TB cases registered in 2016.

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