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  India   All India  20 Jan 2017  Government plans nutritional support for TB patients

Government plans nutritional support for TB patients

THE ASIAN AGE. | TEENA THACKER
Published : Jan 20, 2017, 1:25 am IST
Updated : Jan 20, 2017, 6:34 am IST

The body needs healthy nutrients more than ever during TB infection.

Currently, under the government’s tuberculosis control programme, seven to eight drugs are dispensed to patients three times a week.
 Currently, under the government’s tuberculosis control programme, seven to eight drugs are dispensed to patients three times a week.

New Delhi: With an aim to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2020, the government is planning to provide nutritional support to those undergoing TB treatment. The move aims to help speed up treatment and provide faster recovery from TB.

“We are planning to provide right kind of nutritional support to those undergoing treatment and cannot afford proper diet. It is a well-known fact that getting right nutrition can help speed up treatment. The body needs healthy nutrients more than ever during TB infection. We are drawing up a standalone scheme which will take care of nutritional needs of those under treatment,” Union health secretary C.K. Mishra told this newspaper.

The support, however, will be provided to those under below poverty line (BPL). “We want to provide “right diet” to those coming from BPL families. People who are malnourished and more likely to get TB and are also more susceptible to relapse,” added Mr Mishra.

While the new nutritional scheme is on its way, the government has rolled out a daily TB regimen — offering highest cure rates and fixed dose combinations. India was perhaps the only country, following the intermittent regimen so far, as against the daily therapy recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier.

Recently, it introduced the new fixed dose combinations of drugs in five states, including Kerala, Maharashtra, Bihar, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh (HP), after a delay of about two years. The plan is to cover the whole country by December this year. “In June, the next phase, which will include 18 states, will be rolled out and by December we will be able to cover the whole country,” added another official. A fixed dose combinations (FDC) is a combination of two or more drugs in a fixed dose for diseases where the pill burden is high.

The rollout of the daily drug therapy means dispensing doses every day. Currently, under the government’s tuberculosis control programme, seven to eight drugs are dispensed to patients three times a week.

According to Mr Mishra, “It is not only cumbersome, but leads to adherence issues, and further development of drug resistance. The FDC will reduce the chance of patients missing doses and as per the WHO FDC is the best treatment option.”

Tags: tuberculosis, world health organisation (who), below poverty line (bpl)
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi