Centre launches new initiatives to combat TB

New Delhi:Launching a host of initiatives and a new drug to combat tuberculosis, the Centre today said resources will not be a constraint in the fight against the disease and there will no dilution or diversion in the process.

As part of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP), Union Health Minister J P Nadda launched Bedaquiline – new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB and inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines.

The CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously.

The test is fully automated and provides results within two hours. It is a highly sensitive diagnostic tool and can be used in remote and rural areas without sophisticated infrastructure or specialized training.

“Until 2015, 121 CBNAAT sites were functional in the country largely providing decentralized testing for detection of DR TB.

“With the availability of these additional 500 machines, access to rapid quality assured diagnosis of DR TB and TB will be ensured in all the districts of India either directly or through a linkage by specimen transport mechanism.

“Additionally, the programme will be able to use this highly sensitive state-of-art technology for diagnosis of TB among key populations like children, PLHIV and extra pulmonary TB patients,” said Nadda at an event “Unite to End TB: Fast Tracking access to quality diagnosis and treatment”.

The event was organsied by Health Ministry and WHO ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day on March 24.

“The Fight against TB is continuous process and we have been fighting against the disease for a long time. The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) was started in 1997 and saw ups and downs, strategising and destrategising.

In the course of time sometimes, the attention gets diluted and diverted and we have to stay focused.

“We have to go for a very aggressive strategy and resources will not be a constraint and the Government will continue to work with all stakeholders, in devising short term and long term approaches,” said Nadda today