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Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad and RNTCP jointly hosted the World TB Day 2018 Program at Apollo Health City

Date: 23 Mar 18

As part of the Public Private Partnership initiative to control Tuberculosis, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad and RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program), Telangana, jointly hosted the World TB Day - 2018 program, on the eve of World TB Day (March 24th). Each year, world-over, the day is commemorated to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The theme of World TB Day 2018, "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world" focuses on building commitment across globally in all sectors - including governments, NGOs, private partners in the fight against TB.

The program was attended by Chief Guest Dr. Ch. Surya Prakash, Joint Director (TB) and STO - Telangana; Guests of Honor Dr. Hari Prasad, President, Hospitals Division, Apollo Hospitals and Dr.Suneetha Narreddy, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, patients, volunteers and the general public. An animation film on TB was released and a flash mob dance was performed by students of the Sri Venkateshwara college of pharmacy, on the occasion to sensitize the society about the disease.

Addressing the gathering Dr Surya Prakash said "I appreciate the lead taken by Apollo Hospitals to raise awareness about TB and supporting and supplementing the state in its endeavour to end TB. India has the highest TB burden. We can't win the battle over TB unless we take effective measures like detecting TB cases at very early stages and supporting in completing the treatment fully. The state presently has 391 Designated Microscopy Centres spread across, delivering diagnosis and treatment services. The TB control program has recently seen a paradigm shift. We moved from alternate day regimen to daily regimen. The pill burden has reduced for the benefit of the patients and this will help in better adherence to the TB treatment. The state is actively pursuing effective implementation of the Clinical Establishment Act and Schedule H1 reporting for improving Private sector TB notifications. The Government of India recently supplied 15 CBNAAT machines, which are used for the rapid diagnosis of drug resistant TB, thereby taking the total CBNAAT machines in the state to 31. With this at least one machine is available in each of the districts. Now the program is extending an incentive of Rs. 500/- per month as nutritional support for all the TB patients."

He also added "Incentives are also available for private practitioners notifying the TB cases. The state has excellent support of the NGO partners. They are supplementing the efforts of the state in making the TB control services more accessible. The objective of the Government of India is to eliminate TB by 2025 and this is possible only through collaborative efforts. The Apollo initiative to use innovative SMS and IVR technologies to remind and counsel the TB patients should be appreciated. Such innovative applications help in adherence to the treatment. Apollo is also notifying the TB cases to Government. Its initiative is among the best in the state. A TB Free world is not a dream if we all put our hands together in fight against TB. Let us make history by ending TB in India."

Dr. Hariprasad said "Earlier TB was easily treatable and was not known for morbidity and mortality, today it has taken a form, where we have to collaborate and eradicate TB, failing which the epidemic will claim many lives across the world. Apollo has always responded to the needs of the community, not just treating critical ailment, but also addressing ailments like TB and in today's context responding to TB is a very important part of our endeavour. On our part we will support the state and the Union government in achieving the goal of ending TB. The Union Government has just passed a G.O., which makes reporting of TB mandatory and if any institution or Doctor who doesn't report TB, it becomes a criminal offence. So, the medical community should make sure they report TB where ever they see it. Unless it is reported we can't keep track of and handle the disease the way we want. At Apollo we are more than happy to work with the Government sector and lead the private sector in this fight against TB."

Dr. Suneetha Narreddy said "TB has become a major threat in the world due to the drug resistance TB. Apollo has taken the initiative to notify TB cases to the Government and our work is testified by the fact that of the 1700 patients reported by the private sector from the combined AP and Telangana states, 700 are notified by Apollo alone. Apollo through its pioneering initiative is working with the RNTCP and the Government through a private public partnership in the fight against TB.

Despite significant progress over the last few decades, TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day. The emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) poses a major health security threat and could risk gains made in the fight against TB. The epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) is likened to the tip of an iceberg, with significant numbers unreached by the public health systems, globally. In India with an estimated incidence of 2.8 million, only 1.7 million TB cases were notified in 2015. Over a million cases are missing from the national notification system, posing a severe threat to the efforts towards ending TB by 2035, as per the 'End TB strategy.' Most of these seek care outside the national TB program in the private sector which is the first point of contact for nearly 80% of the general population. There is currently no mechanism in place in the private sector to follow up patients for adherence and treatment completion and response to treatment is not known.

To overcome this precarious situation mainly in the private sector, Apollo Hospitals in partnership with The Union South East Asia office, supported by Eli Lilly Foundation piloted an innovative eHealth intervention to engage corporate hospitals for TB notification and adherence support. As part of this a software was developed, which interfaces with 'Nikshay' - the Government's web-based case-based notification system; and facilitates reminders for treatment adherence. Counselling services are provided through a trained counsellor as a follow up to the messages sent. The program was initiated in June 2015 and has till date reported over 700, as against a mere 1700 patients reported from the entire combined AP and Telangana in the private sector, in the same time period. Apollo has already expanded this program to all the Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad and is working on expanding the same to other cities as well."

 

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