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Experts to discuss Hinduja cases in Geneva today

Officials of World Health Organisation (WHO) and health experts from across the globe will meet in Geneva to discuss the Tuberculosis (TB) strain found by PD Hinduja Hospital in January.

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Experts to discuss Hinduja cases in Geneva today
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Officials of World Health Organisation (WHO) and health experts from across the globe will meet in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss the Tuberculosis (TB) strain found by PD Hinduja Hospital in January.

The meet will have more than 30 TB experts from across the globe to discuss the TB strain and a strategy to tackle it. The experts will also discuss naming the strain, which the hospital had called it total drug resistant and the government officials called in extensively drug resistant (XDR).

While the state and central governments have been on the denial state about the existence of total drug resistant TB strains in the country, WHO described the cases as “a wake-up call”.

Dr Zarir Udwadia, the chest physician from PD Hinduja Hospital who had co-authored the Total Drug Resistant TB study, has been invited for the two-day discussion. “I will present the TDR TB study done by us,” said Dr Udwadia.

In January, total drug resistant-TB (TDR-TB) infected 12 people, out of which three died.

The authorities had denied the total drug resistant TB cases and called it extensively drug resistant TB. The Ministry of Health had said TDR-TB is not a term approved by WHO and is misleading and Hinduja hospital lab is not qualified to undertake the tests for TDR-TB.

About the government agencies response to his study, Dr Udwadia said: “The WHO response was far more measured and authoritative. Paul Nunn, coordinator of WHO’s STOP TB department in Geneva, described the cases as “a wake-up call for countries to accelerate provision of proper care, particularly for multi drug-resistant patients.”

Dr Udwadia said that while the health authorities continued to accept the TDR-TB form in Mumbai, within a week after the news of TDR TB cases in Mumbai, WHO had a TDR link on its website with answers to frequently asked questions.

“TB exists on an epic scale in India. TDR-TB is an iatrogenic disease that show the failure of physicians as well as the public health. These patients have slipped through the cracks in India’s TB control programme and it is informative to analyse where we have collectively failed them,” said Dr Udwadia.

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