Tuberculosis is an infectious airborne disease that develops in over 5,000 people in India every day and kills nearly 1000 persons. Moreover, India has been entitled as the country with the highest TB burden in the world. India in itself presents about 1.9 million TB cases annually. The contagious nature of the disease by virtue of which a sputum positive person infects over 10-15 individuals in a year if left untreated mandates the availability of effective prevention and treatment measures. The medical community, today, faces the challenge of treating drug resistant TB strains the causes of which include unregulated availability and injudicious use of 1st and 2nd line anti-TB medicines or drugs. The lack of a proper regulation of standardised regimens and adherence to treatment has lead to a medical condition popularly known as multidrug resistant TB. India has finally set foot to fight the MDR-TB by way of introducing the DOTS Plus Program. The State representative surveys reported that the costs and complications in providing treatment to patients with MDR-TB have been found to be immense. Therefore, it is of utmost essence to integrate the DOTS Plus Program with the existing DOTS program.
The DOTS Plus Program is a multipronged philanthropic program started in 2003 under the aegis of Lilly, which involves the private and public health care professionals, international organizations, academia and producers of medicines in the developing regions. Called the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, the DOTS Plus Program performs the following tasks:
Community Support and Patient Advocacy: Lilly MDR-TB Partnership supports various non-profit organizations to initiate community based programs to increase awareness and support the treatment. The programs thrive to establish models that ensure the patients benefit in the end. The partnership organised a photo essay project by virtue of which the photographers brought out the challenges faced by TB patients and their care givers. The Lilly’s Global Day of Service witnesses community efforts by the volunteers of the partnership some of which include walking, painting, digging, donating, planting trees etc. The partnership also developed a comprehensive patient information booklet in collaboration with Central TB Division to build awareness about tuberculosis among the patients.
Training: The program work with India’s largest HCP Association, the Indian Medical Association to train private healthcare practitioners and teach them the usage of regimens that abide by national guideline in treating TB. The Training of trainer program with nurses mandates the collaboration of nurses with physicians in learning ways to prevent the infection, thereby keeping the environment clean.
Transferring Technology: Lilly has transferred its set of manufacturing technology that is free of charge to produce second line TB drugs to domestic companies in India, Russia, South Africa and China. This initiative involves grants to purchase equipment and upgrade facilities, learning business management in partnership with Purdue University and Training in Good Manufacturing Practices.
Media Sensitisation: The media has been utilised to its optimum by the program in different parts of the world to spread the right perception of TB among patients and others. The program initiates Media Sensitisation program by collaborating with NGOs and other organisations to build awareness about TB and MDR-TB in the media.
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