In Tuberculosis Treatment , Treatment Adherence is Still an Obstacle

The March 24th 2014 marked the World Tuberculosis Day. This day aims at increasing the awareness of the people about the bacterial infection of Tuberculosis. To achieve this objective, Governments, NGOs and health Institutions the world over, organise various programmes to educate people about the deadly disease of Tuberculosis.

For information sake, Tuberculosis is still one of the most fatal diseases in this world. That’s the TB infection takes most number of lives annually across the globe. To save precious lives, the World Health Organisation emphasizes on timely TB case detection and treatment adherence. Apart from that it also stresses on correct TB diagnosis, TB treatment and follow-up for cure to address continuum of care for TB.

Active TB disease occurs most often in the lungs. However, in 20% of cases reported annually involve other organs including, most commonly, lymph nodes, kidneys or bones including the spine.

TB Treatment Adherence

One of the most challenging aspects of TB treatment in India and the World is TB Treatment Adherence. That’s once the correct diagnosis of TB is made by a qualified doctor and the treatment is started, the patient fails to adhere or continue the TB medication course. That’s he/she forgets to take the drug dose or stops the TB course at the midst of the TB treatment Course. This results in the patient developing a resistance for that dosage; and he/she has to begin the entire course once again, this time with a higher potency of TB drug.

Hence if a person is diagnosed with TB and if the doctor has started his/her TB treatment course; then he/she must complete the entire course, without skipping even a single dose. And stop only when the doctor tell him/her to stop taking the drugs.

Left untreated,TB can kill approximately one half of patients within five years and produce significant morbidity (illness) in others. Inadequate therapy for TB can lead to drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis that are even more difficult to treat.

New Initiatives on this World Tuberculosis Day

The Punjab Government started a toll free TB helpline — designated microscopic centre (DMC) helpline. The helpline is managed by Population Services International (PSI) under “Project Axshya,” created to increase TB case detection and treatment adherence.

Project Axshya is a programme funded by Global Fund Round 9 Grant and is aligned with RNTCP and WHO’s Stop TB Strategy.

The helpline will comprise outbound calling service and SMS facility targeted at AYUSH healthcare providers in order to build their capacity and also act as reminder medium to ensure correct TB diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for cure to address continuum of care for TB.

The DMC helpline is presently operational in 24 districts across Punjab, Karnataka and Maharashtra and will be scaled up. The helpline is being promoted through outreach to health care providers, pharmacists and through door-to-door visits conducted for active case finding. PSI also plans to use in-clinic POP material with health care providers (RHCP, AYUSH and chemists). PSI is also rolling out an outdoor (OOH) campaign in the programme districts to promote the helpline.

A nice addition to already growing DMC Helpline.


Below are the symptoms of pulmonary TB or the TB which affects Lungs

Lungs TB Symptoms include:

  1. A persistent cough of more than three weeks that brings up phlegm, which may be bloody
  2. breathlessness, which is usually mild to begin with and gradually gets worse
  3. lack of appetite and weight loss
  4. a high temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above
  5. night sweats
  6. extreme tiredness or fatigue
  7. unexplained pain for more than three weeks

When to get medical help

You should see your GP if you have a cough that lasts for more than three weeks or if you cough up blood.

[DISCLAIMER: This Article is not Doctor’s Advice. The article is for information purposes only]