World Health Organization launches ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

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It is curable and preventable, with the availability of effective medications, and if the patients come early. It spreads through the air like a common cold or flu. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets that contain germs are released.

Poor hygiene is always a concern at government hospitals, so make sure you avoid close contact with other infected persons and wash your hands/use a sanitiser after each visit.

How does tuberculosis affect the body?

Tuberculosis is already the “world’s top infectious disease killer”, taking 5,000 lives each day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Treatment Success rate among drug resistant TB cases are as low as 47%.

CDC also provides financial and technical support for TB through HealthCare Associated Tuberculosis Infection Prevention Project – Zimbabwe (HATIPP-Zim), which will develop a TB screening policy for health care workers and standardize implementation at health facilities.

Around one in five cases are now resistant to at least one of the main TB drugs.

The surveys have noted a rise in TB cases between the age group of 16 to 30. While that is very good news, say the authors of the report, they fear that without accurate tests to establish which drugs will and which will not work in an individual patient and clear guidelines to medical staff on how they should be used, they too could lose their effectiveness. “The statistics clearly indicate that we are not winning the war against TB and this is especially devastating when TB HIV co-infection are considered”. The coughing could also involve blood.

Lastly and importantly, the government should continue its efforts to improve the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) which are the conditions under which people are born and in which they live. And hence, the symptoms are specific to the region where the bacteria is present.

New technologies like fluorescent microscopy and a rapid test called Gene Xpert MTB/RIF®, have been recommended by WHO.

But, migration and travel mean that highly drug-resistant TB strains have emerged in nearly every part of the world. Since TB may not manifest symptoms, the evaluator may miss pulmonary TB as a result.

Drug Resistant Tuberculosis- The new BIG Public health issue. In 2014, the report notes, only a quarter of new MDR-TB cases were detected and reported. The report estimates mortality rates of around 40% for MDR-TB and 60% for XDR-TB.

However according to both MSF Access and the new Lancet study, research and development alone, though needed, is not enough to address the shortcomings in the global response to TB and Antimicrobial Resistance without a matching political response. “But now we get first-time patients with MDR-TB”.

Therefore, it responds to even fewer available medicines.

Previous year alone approximately 30,000 Zimbabweans were diagnosed with TB.

The treatment for MDR-TB has to be given for up to 20 months, while normal TB treatment is only for six months. World TB Day is one of the 8 public health campaigns by the WHO (World Health Organisation).

The report also argues that molecular epidemiologic data could be used to detect outbreaks and identify hot spots of drug-resistant TB, thereby providing a target for transmission-control efforts. This year’s World TB Day theme is, “Unite to end TB”; and the slogan is, “Find the Missing TB Patients”. “WHO is determined to overcome the stigma, discrimination, and other barriers that prevent so many of these people from obtaining the services they so badly need”.

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This means taking a whole-of-society and multidisciplinary approach, in the context of universal health coverage. On this World TB Day take a pledge to end TB.

World Health Organization launches ethics guidance to protect rights of TB patients

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