Problem areas

The Nepal Anti-Tuberculosis Association (NATA) celebrated November 29 as the 54th National Tuberculosis (TB) Day. For decades, the government has been making intensive efforts to control the spread of the disease and reduce the number of TB patients by also providing patients with free treatment. Similarly, donors have been pouring in money to help the government combat the disease. However, the number of the patients infected with the disease has not gone down much. According to a recent report released by NATA, two patients die of TB every three hours in Nepal. There are around 90,000 patients suffering from the disease and the number has been increasing by 40, 000 annually, the report states.

Many deaths are also caused by the negligence of the patients, who for lack of awareness about the hazards of the disease blissfully ignore medical advice. Keeping in view the escalating rate of death of TB patients, the government has currently adopted a new technology called Direct Observation Treatment service (DOTS), which has been helpful in reducing the number of TB patients. The government, to make its anti-TB drive more successful, should extend the reach of the campaign to the rural areas where the concentration of the disease is the highest. Above all, the government should ensure proper utilisation of the aid received. Here, the need for improvement is urgent.