Two die of TB every three hours in Nepal

Kathmandu, November 28:

Experts from the health sector today said that there are around 90,000 patients infected with tuberculosis in Nepal and the number increases by 40,000 annually.

In every three hours, two patients die of TB in Nepal. Globally, 1.6 million people die of TB every year. Experts revealed the data at a press conference organised by the Nepal Anti-Tuberculosis Association (NATA) to mark the 54th National Tuberculosis Control Day that is celebrated on Mangsir 13 every year. Madan Kaji Shrestha, the general secretary of the NATA, said the government has adopted a new technology DOTS (Direct Observation Treatment Service) Plus to cure Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) tuberculosis.

He said, “Currently NATA is running 21 DOTS Plus clinics in five development regions, where 350 MDR patients have already been treated free of cost.” He said, “The disease can not be controlled by the government efforts alone and it demands collective effort of all sectors.”

Dr Bhawana Shrestha said that MDR TB is a man-made error, which is caused due to the negligence on the part of patients and physicians while treating TB through OTS. “Insufficient dose of medicine makes DOTS treatment insufficient. In such cases, the DOTS Plus treatment is applied.” Shrestha said 16 patients have already been cured with the new technology.

She said new patients with Extensively Drug Resistance (XDR) TB are being detected in the world. “Three XDR cases have been detected in Nepal. One has already died and two are undergoing treatment.”

It has been estimated that $ 2.15 billion is needed to combat drug-resistant TB globally.