Mumbai News: 25 Doctors Enroll For State TB Training Programme

Mumbai News: 25 Doctors Enroll For State TB Training Programme

Earlier the government wanted to eliminate TB by 2030, but it brought forward the target year in an ambitious revision of the goal.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Thursday, October 19, 2023, 10:31 PM IST
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Mumbai News: 25 Doctors Enroll For State TB Training Programme | Representational Image

Mumbai: More than 25 doctors from nine states have enrolled at the State Tuberculosis Training and Demonstration Centre (STDC) in Pune, according to officials.

The Centre recently announced that it would develop five centres around the country that would offer a ‘National Tuberculosis Trainer Training Programme’ to meet its goal of eliminating the disease by 2025. The STDC is the first – and only – such facility in Maharashtra. Delhi and Bengaluru already have theirs in place.

Earlier the government wanted to eliminate TB by 2030, but it brought forward the target year in an ambitious revision of the goal.

STDC has a pivotal role in eradication of TB

“The STDC has an important role to play in the success of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme by assisting state TB officers in various programme-related activities and providing inputs on technical issues. The programme is comprehensive, ranging from the identification of TB cases, to the management of patients, and the monitoring and evaluation of the TB programme,” an official from the state Health Department said.

However, an official from the state health minister’s office said that in order to meet the Centre’s target, Maharashtra will require more trained healthcare staff who can help in early detection and treatment of TB cases.

“Pune is the only centre in the state to get an STDC that can provide training to healthcare staff. These kind of training programmes are much needed for eliminating TB by 2025. Although we are not far from achieving the target, there are hidden cases that we have not identified. Sometimes people don’t come forward because TB is considered a taboo,” the official said.

Meanwhile, health experts have welcomed these training facilities but criticised the Centre for overlooking one important aspect: the inability of thousands of multi-drug resistance TB (MDR-TB) patients in Maharashtra to complete the drug course due to unavailability of essential medicines.

They believe the central government is not taking the issue of drug shortage seriously. There is also a shortage of cartridges for CBNAAT (cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification testing), they say.

Strict measures to eradicate TB

“Everyone wants TB to be eliminated, but for that strict measures should be taken. The Centre is firm on eliminating TB in the next two years and it is establishing these training facilities. But the state lacks medicines and cartridges. These are basic things for treatment and identification of patients,” said Ganesh Acharya, a TB survivor and activist.

Acharya said the state currently has 1.3 lakh capsules of Cycloserine, an antibiotic used to treat the disease. “Maharashtra actually requires 4,16,750 Cycloserine capsules for its 10,000 MDR-TB patients,” he said.

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