Every year, on an average, 40 people in Bangladesh die of tuberculosis, said officials of the country's National TB Control Programme yesterday, highlighting the urgency of putting more effective efforts into diagnosing and treating the TB patients.
In every one lakh, around 221 are infected with TB, they said.
Success rate of treatment in the country is 95 percent, but around 33 percent of TB patients cannot be reached, they said at a press conference organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, National TB Control Programme (NTP), and Brac on the occasion of World TB Day, to be observed tomorrow, said a press release.
The major challenge the country is facing now is the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, mainly due to complications in diagnostic process. An estimated 80 percent MDR TB patients cannot be diagnosed yet, they told the conference at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
NTP line director Prof Dr Samiul Islam said despite Bangladesh's success in treatment of TB, the country is still one of the 30 countries that are most vulnerable to infections of TB, an infectious disease usually caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Brac Director Dr Akramul Islam said since TB in urban areas is still increasing it needs special attention from the authorities. The most vulnerable people for TB in urban areas are slum dwellers, floating population, elderly people, the factory workers and prisoners.
Speakers said constraints in diagnosing child TB, increase in urban TB prevalence among elderly and working people, shortage of GeneXpert machines to diagnose TB and a lack of human resources in diagnostic services are some of the barriers in TB control.
World Health Organization (WHO) Medical Officer Mya Sapol called for collaborative efforts between the government and non-governmental sectors in controlling TB.
National Anti-tuberculosis Association of Bangladesh (NATAB) President Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, USAID Senior Adviser for infectious diseases Dr Charles Lerman, and icddr,b scientist Dr Sayra Banu also spoke.