This World Tuberculosis Day, Tuesday 24th March 2015, the Irish Red Cross is highlighting the impact of Tuberculosis in India. The country with the highest rate of Tuberculosis in the world, accounting for nearly a 5th of all global incidences. Every three minutes, two Tuberculosis deaths occur in India.
The Irish Red Cross has joined with the India Red Cross in their effort in combating the spread of Tuberculosis and further control of Multidrug-resistant (MDR)-Tuberculosis through a prevention and management of Tuberculosis programme. The scope of the intervention, which covers the Amritsar and Jalandhar districts of Punjab, is especially aimed at patients who default from their treatment, as they run the risk of developing MDR Tuberculosis.
The programme, which has already been successful in other areas of the country, will directly benefit 1,400 people in the two target areas. Indirectly benefiting 2,000 family members and more than 50,000 community members.
In India, malnutrition, poverty, diabetes, smoking and other drug abuse also adversely affect immunity making the population susceptible to Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis requires a long period of treatment and can take between six and eight months to cure. Many patients drop out of treatment due to stigmatisation and other reasons.
The Irish Red Cross supported Tuberculosis programme, aims to identify those who have dropped out of treatment and to get them restarted. Red Cross volunteers will bridge the gap between the patients and the treatment centres. Supporting them emotionally and ensuring they get the right nutrition, an essential part of recovery.
The Tuberculosis Prevention Programme works with the objective of spreading advocacy on Tuberculosis amongst community members. It seeks to reduce stigma about the disease and the discrimination due to it. It focuses on the most vulnerable Tuberculosis patients in the selected districts and seeks to help them complete their treatment as well as provide them with nutrition until they are cured.
What is MDR-Tuberculosis?
Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) is a specific form of drug-resistant tuberculosis where the bacillus bacteria is resistant to at least two of the most powerful anti-TB drugs (Isoniazid and Rifampicin). Read more.