Milestone in the fight against tuberculosis
Chest pain and breathlessness, weakness and fatigue, fever and night sweats – Gowrinadh (picture above, name changed) had long been suffering from these symptoms. He had to cough a lot during the day. He had been forced to give up his job as a day labourer a long time ago. He had no idea how to support his family. He has tuberculosis (TB). wortundtat is able to help him.
Gowrinadh is one of many people in India who have been infected with TB. About a quarter of TB sufferers worldwide are living in India. The reasons for this are among other poverty, which affects a large part of the population, a health system, which is not accessible to all and a lack of education. This often makes prevention and consistent treatment very difficult.
In spite of this, the Indian government is making a lot of effort to defeat the life threatening disease, which in most cases affects the lung. Its target: the number of new infections shall be reduced drastically. By 2025, tuberculosis shall no longer be a death sentence. However, that is a long way away: in 2016, India recorded about 450,000 deaths from TB. The same year about 2.8 million new cases were diagnosed on the subcontinent.
The Indian state has been fighting the Infectious disease for 50 years. In doing so, it receives help from the World Health Organisation WHO and the Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. Their aim is to put a global stop to the epidemic within the next 16 years. At local level, help comes from partners such as wortundtat. As way back as 2002, we have been treating – in close cooperation with the national TB Programme, of which we are a firm component – infected patients in the Clinic for Tuberculosis Sufferers near Chilakaluripet. One of our patients is Gowrinadh, who is showing significant signs of improvement only a few weeks after his treatment began.
In addition, wortundtat funds the personnel that, within the scope of this programme, supervise two regions in the Guntur District. In these regions with a population of about 700,000, our medical professionals annually discover 1,000 to 1,500 new cases, whose subsequent treatment they ensure. They keep a close eye on the patients, such as paying particular attention to the regular taking of medication. In doing so, the wortundtat teams achieve particularly positive treatment results – the best in the entire district with almost 5 million inhabitants.
Milestone in the fight against TB
Based on these successes, the government made the latest technology for the early detection of TB available to our hospital. So far, it is the only private hospital in the entire federal state, which received the diagnostic device costing about € 7,100. It provides a significantly more precise diagnosis. Due to its ability to recognising even the tiniest traces of germs it is able to speed up the start of the treatment. A clear result is available only two hours after the specimen has been fed into the device.This gives the doctor the information he needs to establish whether the patient has been infected and whether he can prescribe the most common TB medication. Only if germs are discovered, which do not respond to standard medication it is necessary for the patient to undergo further examinations. Hence, this technology is a milestone in the history of fighting against TB. Previous microscopic diagnoses only discovered about 50 percent of people already infected.
Cornelia Krause, who, in her capacity as a doctor, has close links with the TB Clinic, witnessed another sign of the positive cooperation between national institutions and the wortundtat facility. An advanced training course took place at the clinic during her stay, where the District Manager of the TB Authority informed circa 300 young women about the government’s TB programme. The women are working as health workers in the villages. They ensure that the poorer rural population is also informed about vaccinations, family planning, prenatal care and other health issues and explain how the national health system provides support. “For us, these women provide valuable help in respect of looking after patients in the villages. For example, they are making sure that patients regularly take their tablets. And they send them to our clinic if the disease progresses”, says Cornelia Krause.