Centre to adopt AMC's MDR-TB policy nationally

The first phase of AMC’s programme is on the verge of successful completion

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Centre to adopt AMC's MDR-TB policy nationally
A community-engagement workshop was organised in Ahmedabad for Tuberculosis on Tuesday


The new drug and time intervention policy for the MDR-TB patients implemented by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in mid-2016 would find place in country's health policy by the early half of 2018.

The new drug, Bedaquiline, with a programme shortens the time of Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) for Multi Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis-which at present comprsies two years of tablets and daily injections.

"For a tuberculosis patient, government is providing DOT for free. AMC has started a programme along with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other international organisations to shorten the time period of drug. The one in practice at majority of places in the country is much painful and time-consuming. The end result is also around 40 to 50% positive," said Dr Sanket Patel, project coordinator, AMC.

"Now a national-level policy will be made based on what Ahmedabad is practising for MDR-TB patients," said Dr Patel.

In 2016, WHO had recommended for shorter regime of drugs- nine to 12 months-for MDR-TB patients as against two to two and a half years. The Corporation had then identified 150 such patients out of 9,000 patients of tuberculosis. The nine-month long first phase of the programme started by AMC is on the verge of completion and based on that a new drug policy will be made at central level.

Under this programme, instead of daily drugs, the medicines are given only three times a week.

"After nine months, there has been an improvement.The result is better and chances of relapse are decreasing. Similar project has been successfully implemented in Bangladesh. Second phase will start soon. We are planning to rope in community leaders for the same," added Dr Patel.

On Tuesday, Ezio Tavora, an expert from Brazil, who runs a programme in 11 countries, conducted a workshop in the city.

"We have selected Ahmedabad because the local body is well equipped and good at follow up," he said.

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