DS-TB or Drug-Sensitive TB is a simple form of the disease which is fully curable by six to eight months of medication known as first-line drugs. It is easy to treat, has minimal side effects and treatment can be administered by community health workers that do not have to be highly trained professionals. The diagnosis of simple DS-TB is by smear microscopy, a simple low cost technique which is easily available, but many are still unaware of their treatment options and/or the necessity of getting tested. Failure to receive and complete the full treatment course can lead to the development of Drug-Resistant TB, which is costly and difficult to treat. Click here to learn more.
A person dies of Tuberculosis (TB) across the world every 20 seconds. They are mostly poor. Nobel Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu succinctly states, “TB is the child of poverty, and also its parent and provider”. Even in developed countries, where TB had been nearly eradicated, it has come back with a vengeance. The bacteria is mutating into untreatable forms like TDR/ XXDR as a result of failure of public health programs, indiscriminate use of antibiotics, inaccurate data and consequently poor policies and budgeting priorities.
TB is also a serious socio-economic problem. The World Economic Forum states, “nearly 1/3rd of over 11,000 [business leaders worldwide] expect TB to affect their business … serious[ly].” In India alone, indirect economic loss is US $23 billion annually.
Not only that, 100,000 female patients are thrown out by families every year and die of disease and starvation. 300,000 youngsters join the rank of child labor annually mostly because a parent is suffering from TB, thereby losing their job, and forcing the child to support the family (Government of India). TB is undoubtedly the biggest public health crisis in India.