WHO urges govts. to strengthen support for national TB programmes

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (UNI) World Health Organisation has lamented that about one third of tuberculosis cases remain unregistered by national TB programmes and asked the governments to involve private sector, teaching and tertiary care facilities to ensure tackling the disease.

In its regional report on tuberculosis released for South-East Asia to mark the World TB Day, the WHO said that the increasing numbers of patients now accessing these sectors are also registered within the national programmes to achieve similar high cure rates.

This is critical to preventing the further emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The report also noted that the overall HIV-TB co-infection rate among TB patients in the Region is relatively low at 1.3 per cent.

The national HIV and TB prevention and control programmes therefore have an opportunity to prevent the potential impact of HIV on the TB epidemic by working closely together.

According to WHO, the health systems in the region through which national TB services are delivered also need to be strengthened to maintain and further accelerate the momentum and impact of TB control efforts in the region.

Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South East Asia, said "we also need to pay attention to other factors impacting tuberculosis control. These include housing and work environments that easily allow for transmission of tuberculosis, malnutrition, age, gender-related factors and ineffective coping strategies that spur the progression to active disease".

The report highlights the steady progress being made by national TB programmes in the Region, which are steadily detecting and successfully treating more TB cases. With full quality coverage with DOTS services (Directly observed treatment short-course) having been achieved in all Member countries, an overall case detection rate of 68 per cent and treatment success rates consistently above the global target of 85 per cent have been achieved. As a result, both occurrence of new cases of TB and deaths due to TB continue to show a slow but steady decline.

Diagnosis and treatment services in several countries in the Region are expanding for TB patients co-infected with HIV and those with multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).

UNI AJ VD KN1957

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