With World TB Day right around the corner, India Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda said, “The Government of India stands committed to accelerating its efforts to combat tuberculosis in the country”.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

He said that the battle against tuberculosis (TB) is continuous and the country’s attention needs to steadfast and aggressive.

As part of his speech today, Nadda announced the launching of the TB drug, Bedaquiline. This drug is indicated for use in the treatment of drug-resistant TB. Bedaquiline is being introduced at six identified tertiary care centres across India. These sites have advanced facilities for laboratory testing and intensive care for patients. Bedaquiline will be given to multi-drug resistant TB patients with resistance to either all fluoroquinolone and/or all second line injectables and extensive drug resistant TB.

In addition, Shri J P Nadda inducted over 500 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines in the programme. The CBNAAT is a revolutionary rapid molecular test which detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis and rifampicin drug resistance, simultaneously.

The Health Minister also released the TB India 2016 Annual Report and the Technical and Operational Guidelines for TB Control in India 2016. The comprehensive set of guidelines are for management of all forms of TB, including drug resistant TB and strategies for intensified case finding; adherence of more patient centric approaches; and single-window care for patients suffering from HIV and TB.