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Half of Bangladesh adults carry TB bacteria

Dec 29, 2009

Half of the adult population in Bangladesh carries the bacteria of tuberculosis. A leading NGO has urged the government to accelerate programmes that control the air-borne disease.

Dhaka: Dr Fahim Ahmed Chowdhury of BRAC health programme said that 50% of Bangladesh adults were infected with tuberculosis.

"Bangladesh ranks sixth among the 22 high burden countries of TB, which infects 9.3 million and claims 2.3 lives every year across the globe," he added.

Dr Fahim was speaking at a roundtable on 'TB Control Programme in Bangladesh' at Jatiya Press Club in the city Sunday.

Health and Environment Journalists' Forum, Bangladesh (HEJFB), National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP) and BRAC Health Programme jointly organised the programme.

The HEJFB President Mustafiz Shafi moderated the roundtable.

Line director of TB, Leprosy Control Programme Dr Provat Chandra Barua, general secretary of HEJFB Saiful Islam Shameem, Dr Mahfuza Rifat and Dr Jalal Uddin Ahmed of BRAC, Dr K Zaman of ICDDR,B, Probir Kanti Das of BGMEA, Dr Wahiduzzaman of Chest Disease Hospital, Dr Lutfar Rahman of Urban TB ControlProgramme and journalists Masud Kamal and Shishir Moral attended the programme.

Dr Fahim said that the detection of TB as well as its cure rate has reached 73% and 92% respectively nationally, well above average the target of millennium development goal (MDG) for 70% case detection and 85% cure rate.

"But much more needs to be done to control multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extremely drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis," he said.

He also said that the cases of MDR, TB was on rise in the country due to non-compliance to medicines by the patients.

Programme manager of NTP Dr Nazrul Islam said that some of the doctors were also responsible for creating MDR and XDR cases in the country.

He said that lack of proper prescriptions ignoring proper dose of drug, drug combination and duration could also lead to drug resistance.

Dr Nazrul said the country had so far recorded 283 MDR tuberculosis cases, 19 of them died and 22 became defaulter, a rate, which was growing due to high toxicity of drugs.

He said that it often created vomiting tendency and some other complications. He, however, said the NTP had taken a number of steps to ensure better treatment of drug resistanttuberculosis through setting up new culture sensitivity testing labs in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Mymensingh.

He also assured that the rest of the three divisional headquarters would be equipped with culture sensitivity facilities by 2010.

Asked about Bangladesh country statistics, Dr Provat Barua said a new national survey report on TB prevalence would be launched by next month, replacing present annual figure of 70,000 deaths and 300,000 new infections.

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