TB claims 5,000- 7,000 lives every year in Nepal
By Hemraj Regmi, Kathmandu: Each year some 5,000 – 7,000 people fall prey to tuberculosis in Nepal, shows the statistics. According to chest physician Dr. Dirgha Singh Bam, presently the estimated number of TB patients is over 80,000 in Nepal and of them only 35,000 to 40,000 were receiving treatment.
“Anyone can contract TB,” said Director of National Tuberculosis Center Dr Kashikant Jha. “Regular intake of medicines would cure TB and its treatment is available free of cost,” he said.
Considering the high risk of TB epidemic in Nepal, the government is running the Directly-Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) centers in various parts of the country.
Until the end of the last fiscal year, 1122 DOTS centers and 3126 sub-centers were operational in Nepal.
The Centers are in operation since 1996. In the beginning, four districts were selected as the sample districts for the operation of the DOTS Centers.
According to available statistics, some 35,964 TB patients came into contact with the DOTS centers in the fiscal year 2067-68 BS. Of them, around 90 percent were successfully treated.
At the call of the World Health Organisation, March 24 is observed as the World Tuberculosis Day every year since 1982.
It may be noted that the World TB Day was started to be celebrated some 100 years after German physician Dr. Robert Koch discovered the bacteria (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis) that causes TB.
Nepal also observed the World TB Day by organizing various awareness programmes on Saturday.
According to Dr. Jha, TB commonly affects the lungs but can also attack other body organs.
TB is an infectious disease and it is transmitted by air. It is spread usually from person to person through breathing, coughing and sneezing during close contact.
Coughing for over two weeks, fever specially in the evening, loss of appetite, loss of weight, chest pain, problem in respiration, fatigue and sweating in night are the common symptoms of TB.
TB could be cured if the patient takes full dose of medicines regularly (without any interruption), said Dr. Jha.
Consumption of full-dose of prescribed medicines, covering the mouth by mask by the patients at the time of coughing and sneezing, having timely blood tests by the people in contact with the patient, administration of BCG vaccine to the new-born babies are some of the ways to check the spread of the disease. RSS