Speakers at a roundtable on Tuesday said that Multi-Drug Resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is the main challenge in the fight to controlling the infection.
The speakers said MDR-TB occurs when regular Tuberculosis (TB) patients fail to comply with the prescribe medicines and so irregularity in taking TB drugs increases sufferings putting lives of the patients in greater danger.
In treating drug resistance tuberculosis a patient usually develops resistance to normal two-month antibiotics or first-line of drugs which is a combination of two of the five basic antibiotics. In the case of MDR-TB, the patient develops resistance to multiple drugs of the second line of the drugs.
The speakers pointed out that a major challenge in treating MDR-TB is that its drugs bear many side effects. Moreover, the treatment of MDR-TB is costly and long-term.
Speakers at a roundtable titled - 'National TB Control Programme: Involvement of all stakeholders' made the above observations. National TB Control Programme (NTP) under the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and BRAC jointly organised the event at the BRAC Centre.
The keynote paper at the meeting was presented by Dr Md Mojibur Rahman, National Programme Consultant of NTP. Syed Monjurul Islam, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, attended the event as the chief guest while special guest was DGHS Director General Dr Deen Muhammad Nurul Haque. Samakal Executive Editor Mustafiz Shafi presided over and moderated the programme.
Dr Md Mojibur Rahman in his keynote paper said that MDR-TB as the main challenge at present in fight against the disease. Other challenges include tuberculosis affecting other body organs, problems in detecting child TB and increase in TB infection caused by poverty, he added.
The Health Secretary in his speech highlighted some achievements of the government in health sector and said Bangladesh not only is progressing in terms of economy but is making spectacular progress in social sectors also.
"The achievement in health indices play a significant role behind our progress in social sectors. An important element behind the success in health sector is meaningful participation of all stakeholders," he said.
Dr Deen Muhammad Nurul Haque said, 'Malnutrition, congested and unhealthy living conditions in the city slums, increase in the number of floating people in the urban areas are the emerging challenges in fight against TB. The added factors are spread of diabetes, wider use of tobacco, negligence and lack of awareness.'
Dr Md Akramul Islam, Director of BRAC's health programmes, said, 'Currently NTP is passing through a transition period. An important cause of this is while the population in the urban and rural areas is increasing in an uneven ratio, the number of healthcare providers in the urban areas has not increased proportionately.'