Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare (Photo courtesy:thenamopatrika.com)
"The Government of India stands committed to accelerating its efforts to combat tuberculosis in the country", stated Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. He was speaking on the eve of ‘World TB Day', on March 21,2016.
He stated that the process of fighting TB is continuous, hence there can be no dilution and do diversion. Our attention needs to steadfast and aggressive, stated the Health Minister. He further added that resources will not be a constraint and the Government will continue to work with all stakeholders, in devising short term and long term approaches. Shri Nadda also emphasized the need for compassion in the treatment of TB patients.
At the event, Shri J P Nadda, launched Bedaquiline - new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB as part of the RNTCP. The drug is a new anti-TB drug for treatment of MDR-TB. This new class of drug is a diarylquinoline that specifically targets Mycobacterial ATP synthase, an enzyme essential for supply of energy to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and most other mycobacteria.
This drug is indicated for use in the treatment of drug-resistant TB. Bedaquiline is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India. These sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care for patients. Bedaquiline will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB.
Shri Nadda also inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines in the programme. The CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously. This 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 are functional in the country largely providing decentralized testing for detection of DR TB.