New Delhi: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, in association with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt of India and Becton Dickinson (BD) India, on Tuesday organised a three-km marathon in which more than 300 students took part to express solidarity with TB patients and raise public awareness about the disease on the World TB Day.
The run was flagged off by Member of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi and Dr Sarman Singh at Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium, AIIMS. The rally witnessed faculty members and students wearing T-shirts with a call to scale up efforts to find, treat and cure missing cases of TB, according to a statement by BD India.
This is the second year of TB awareness initiative that is being driven by Dr Sarman Singh, professor and head, division of clinical microbiology and molecular medicine, department of laboratory medicine, AIIMS and BD India.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sarman Singh said, “Early identification and treatment of TB is the key to preventing further spread of TB. Our aim is to reach out to every TB patient and urge them to go to the nearby government health centres if they show symptoms of tuberculosis that is cough and fever for more than two weeks.”
Varun Khanna, managing director, BD India, said, “Left untreated, each person with active TB may infect on average between 10 and 15 people every year. In 2013, the World Health Organization identified 3 million missing TB cases globally of which 1 million were in India.”
TB is an infectious disease that usually infects the lungs, but can attack almost any part of the body. It is spread from person to person through the air. India ranks #1 in the world and constitutes 1/5th of the global TB burden.
Every year, in India close to 2 million people develop the disease with nearly 40% of them being infectious. As per WHO, India along with China contributes nearly 50% to the global burden of Multiple Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB).
A day-long symposium was also organized at AIIMS where experts discussed current challenges in TB diagnosis and management with focus on high-risk groups.
At the symposium, experts opined that India should generate its own data regarding the efficacy of various diagnostic tests. Special attention needs to be provided to high risk groups such as babies and young children, older adults, people who have other disease that weaken the immune system, and those who were infected with the TB bacteria in the past, they added.
The symposium witnessed the participation of Dr K S Sachdeva, CTD (Central TB Division), RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Programme); Dr Amita Jain, King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow; Dr G C Khilnani, AIIMS; Dr A B Dey, AIIMS; Dr P N Dogra, AIIMS; and Dr V M Katoch, former secretary and director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research (DHR), Govt of India.