72 hidden TB patients in one lakh people

Staff Correspondent | Published: 17:56, Mar 22,2018


There are about 221 tuberculosis patients per one lakh people in Bangladesh, but 72 of them remained undiagnosed, according to National TB Control Programme.

Annually, at least 3.6 lakh patients are diagnosed TB and of 67 per cent of them could be traced.

The rest 33 per cent TB patients are the potential vector of the deadly disease and they are most vulnerable to transmitting the disease to others, experts said.

World Health Organization considers TB as a notifiable disease, but the huge number of TB patients remained out of trace due to lack of mass awareness and scanty of TB screening programmes, they said.

Annually, at least 66,000 people die of tuberculosis in Bangladesh and the WHO considers Bangladesh as the 7th highest TB affected country.

TB, an infectious disease caused by bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is curable but fatal if not cured.

They common symptoms of TB include coughing that lasts two or more weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, night sweats and chills.

The government data showed that there are about 5,300 TB patients who are resistant to multiple drugs in the country. The disease has been resistant to first line of TB drugs.

About 29 per cent of TB patients develop multi-drug resistance every year because of irregular medication, it said.

WHO also considers Bangladesh as the 13th most multi-drug resistant TB burden country in the world.

Childhood TB also appeared to be a cause of concern for Bangladesh.

The government data showed that there are about 10,062 child TB patients, who consist 4.32 per cent of total TB patients. Their ages range between 0 and 14 years.

Moreover, about 10 per cent child TB patients are remained undiagnosed, the government data showed.

National TB Control Programme and nongovernment organization BRAC disclosed the findings at a press conference at National Press Club Thursday to mark World TB Day 2018.

This year the World TB Day will be observed on March 24 with a theme ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world’, urging everyone to be a leader of efforts to end TB in their own work.

TB Control Programme focal person Nazis Arefin said Bangladesh faced challenge to eliminate TB.

He said that a huge number (33 per cent) of TB patients remained undiagnosed, and they are the vector of the deadly disease.

The untraceable patients were the most vulnerable to transmitting the disease to others, he said.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is the best approach, but the patients do not visit health facilities before the situation much worsens, Nazis said.

BRAC TB Control Programme sector specialist Abul Khair Basher urged to find out extensively the pockets where the missing patients remain.

Directorate General of Health Services line director for tuberculosis Shamiul Islam said that although the government with the support of World Health Organization started programme to tackle tuberculosis in 1993, TB still remained as a major public health problem in Bangladesh.

‘We have to work together to make Bangladesh free of TB,’ he said.

The government gives free services to the screening and the treatment. The services are available at all upazila level hospitals to tertiary hospitals, specialised hospitals and NGO clinics.

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