Monday, March 25, 2019

Bangladesh faces six challenges to control TB: Experts

  • Nurul Islam Hasib
    Published: 2018-08-07 02:00:41 BdST


Bangladesh which has increased tuberculosis detection rates in recent years among its population is now facing six challenges to control the infectious disease further to achieve the SDGs.

Those include undetected cases remaining out of services, lack of necessary manpower, challenges to reach all population in the municipalities, lack of modern diagnostic facilities in rural level, private doctors’ less involvement, and TB testing not being compulsory.

Experts at an event on Monday in Dhaka said there had been successes in TB control, but there are challenges to meet the SDG demand.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim, speaking at the event, urged all government and non-government organisations to work “unitedly” to eliminate the disease.

“All have to work together to eliminate TB from the country to help achieve health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG),” he said.

Tje National Tuberculosis Control Programme of Bangladesh, the Daily Ittefaq and BRAC jointly organised the programme on “Progress Towards End TB: Progress and Challenges Towards Achieving SDG Targets”.

“We have tremendous achievements in health sector since last few years… And if we work sincerely from our respective positions it would not be impossible to eliminate TB from the country within six years,” the health minister said.

Bangladesh last year launched the global initiative that helps to find the missing cases of tuberculosis in cities and treats them in an effort to eliminate the infectious disease.

Every year, globally 10.4 million people become sick with TB. Of them, 40 percent do not even receive care – health systems miss them after failing to diagnose, treat or report.

In Bangladesh it is estimated that 150,000 TB cases remain missing every year.

The result is many will die or continue to be sick and transmit the disease or, if treated with improper drugs, contribute to the growing menace of drug resistance.

This is significant because Bangladesh has the seventh highest prevalence rate of TB in the world, and with more than 18 million people, Dhaka is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, making it especially vulnerable to an outbreak.

Findings from the 2015-16 National TB Prevalence Survey show TB prevalence rates vary by location and demographic groups.

The survey showed very high rates in urban areas, and among men and the elderly. Based on this evidence, the 2018-2022 National Strategic Plan for TB calls for an approach that targets cities and the populations at risk.

BRAC TB expert Dr Md Akramul Islam stressed three things – replacing old diagnostics with modern facilities, investment for bringing new drugs and encouraging global funds for more investment.

The National Anti-tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB) President Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, Editor of the Daily Ittefaq Tasmima Hossain, Director of BRAC’s Communicable Diseases, WASH and DMCC programmes Dr M Akramul Islam also spoke, among others.

Stressing the need of early detection, they said it is important to detect TB patients as soon as possible and give them proper treatment.

They stressed good quality of care services particularly for under-privileged people, adequate system for screening, sufficient funding and staffing.