Experts have called upon all to engage in the process of identifying tuberculosis or TB to find out the missing cases.
“It’s everyone’s business, everyone’s responsibility,” Prof Md Shamiul Islam, Line Director of the National TB programme (NTP), said as the government eyes eradicating TB by 2035.
It means reduction in the number of TB deaths compared with 2015 will be 95 percent, reduction in TB cases by 90 percent and catastrophic costs due to TB ‘zero’.
The NTP, Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum, and BRAC co-organised the journalist-orientation programme on Monday at the Brac Center.
Health Reporters Forum President Toufiq Maruf presided over the meeting.
Dr Md Akramul Islam, director, communicable diseases of BRAC, said ways should be found out to add impetus to the national programme.
“We should focus on four issues – infrastructure, human resources, new diagnostic tools, and drugs and vaccines when available,” he said.
Dr Rupali Sisir Banu, National Programme Coordinator of National TB Control Programme, presented the keynote paper and said still 27 percent TB cases remained missing for which “we need special attention”.
“Beyond the ministry of health – interministreal collaboration – the multisectoral aspect is crucial if an accountability framework for TB was to be multi-sectoral,” she said. “Engagement of civil society and legislative framework may need to be strengthened”.
Childhood TB still remains a major challenge for Bangladesh, she said as the diagnosis is difficult largely due to the fact that the disease in children produces non-specific clinical manifestations.
Sputum examination is the only and widely used test for the diagnosis of lung TB. But young children cannot produce sputum and this makes the diagnosis difficult among them, she said.