“While the India continues to remain a high burden country in terms of tuberculosis load we are also seeing increased drug compliance, robust treatment and reduced prevalence, incidence and mortality because of the disease,’’ Dr. R.S. Gupta, Deputy Director General (TB), Central TB Division in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said on Friday.
He was speaking at the presentation of the REACH Lilly MDR-TB partnership media awards-2014 for excellence in reporting on tuberculosis here.
The award in the English category has been won by Bijoyeta Das for her work published in Al Jazeera and Sumitra Deb Roy ( Times of India , Mumbai). In the local language category, the awards were presented to Reji Joseph (Malayalam from Rashtra Deepika ), Mukesh Kumar Kejariwal (Hindi, Dainik Jagran ) and Ranjit Chathoth (Malayalam, Mathrubhumi Arogyamasika ). The event also saw the release of a publication — “Childhood TB: A Journalist’s Exploration”.
Elaborating on the current tuberculosis scenario in the country, Dr. Gupta maintained that while India has taken positive steps in tackling tuberculosis, “drug resistant tuberculosis is a reality. This has happened because of the irrational use of the drug and improper/insufficient medical guidance to patients by health workers. We need the support of everyone working in the field of tuberculosis to eradicate the disease.”
The focus of the event, organised in the run-up to the World TB Day observed on March 24, was ‘Childhood TB.’
In her keynote address, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, director, National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, said: “When it comes to childhood tuberculosis, we are still in the dark about the exact extent of the disease. We need better diagnostic facilities, integrate childhood tuberculosis care into community medical services, provide better drugs aimed specifically at children and scale up both advocacy and diagnostic facilities for childhood tuberculosis. These are steps we must take to reach our goal of zero tuberculosis deaths among children in the country.”