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Ending TB is going to be hard but "hard is not impossible"

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Bobby Ramakant, CNS (Citizen News Service)


Dr KK Chopra, Director, New Delhi TB Centre
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Watch/embed video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-xsvDBpdh4

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Wisdom of Nelson Mandela, "It always seems impossible until it's done", has only deepened in relevance and context when we review the fight against tuberculosis (TB), a curable disease which continues to be one of the top ten causes of death globally.

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With 1.8 million TB deaths globally (480,000 TB deaths in India alone) in 2015, urgent and well-coordinated multi-sectoral response to #endTB is a compelling public health imperative today.

In lead up to World TB Day 2017, CNS (Citizen News Service) spoke with Dr KK Chopra, Director of New Delhi TB Centre, who has invested over 30 years in this battle against TB. Dr Chopra reflected on key gamechangers in past decades and shared key insights on upping the pace to end TB. This interview is part of CNS Inspire series -- featuring people who have had decades of experience in health and development, and learning from them what went well and not-so-well and how these learnings can shape the responses for sustainable development over the next decade.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as WHO End TB Strategy are two major demonstrations of political commitment to end TB. But the ground reality puts these commitments in stark contrast against the abysmally slow pace of TB decline - year after year. In fact, TB cases and TB deaths actually rose in 2015 as per the latest data.

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NTP to RNTCP: Major wins but challenges ahead

"When I was a postgraduate student we practiced domiciliary treatment for TB. Back then, we had the National TB Programme (NTP), in which treatment was based on X-Ray examination, and its duration was of two years. We routinely asked patients while taking their history if they had taken '90 injections' to find out about previous treatments. Short-course therapy for TB was just beginning in those years. Although there was a reporting mechanism in NTP but complete data was not available of patients put on treatment or treatment outcomes" shared Dr KK Chopra.

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Citizen News Service (CNS) specializes in in-depth and rights-based, health and science journalism. For more information, please contact: www.citizen-news.org or @cns_health or www.facebook.com/cns.page

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