50th Union World Conference on Lung Health Satellite Session focuses on ‘Managing Latent Tuberculosis Infection: A Way Forward for India’
The 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, held for the first time in 50 years in India, featured a satellite session entitled: ‘Managing Latent Tuberculosis Infection: A way forward for India’ at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre today. Organised and hosted by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and India Health Fund with support from Sanofi – a global healthcare company in India- the session highlighted the importance of tackling latent TB infection (LTBI) in India, current interventions and the way forward.
An impressive panel of experts, TB and HIV survivors, included Dr. K.S. Sachdeva, Dy. Director General, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program, India and Dr. Rohit Sarin, Director National Institute for Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi. The participants deliberated on topics such as diagnosis and treatment options for LTBI, vaccines and immunological markers for TB prevention, the role of the private sector, TB prevention strategies beyond medical management, and innovation as the way forward.
A person with LTBI has small quantities of dormant TB bacteria, but no symptoms or signs of TB disease and is not infectious. Without treatment, however, about 5-10% of such people will develop TB over a lifetime. Conditions such as diabetes, malnourishment, and HIV increase the risk of developing TB disease among persons with LTBI. Worldwide, an estimated 1.7 billion people – almost a quarter of the world’s population have LTBI. In low incidence settings such as Europe, most TB cases result from progression of LTBI to TB disease. Appropriate treatment of LTBI is available and can prevent progression to TB disease. Increasing availability of short-term treatment regimens against LTBI could make this more efficient and feasible.
India has the highest burden of TB disease in the world with an estimated incidence of approximately 2.7 million per year (2018) and studies show that about 40% of India’s population has LTBI. Adoption of 2018 WHO recommendations to address LTBI in India will prevent TB cases occurring from those with LTBI and, as a result, further reduce transmission of TB disease. In order to succeed in this effort, India’s Revised National TB Control Program needs to identify high-risk groups, provide treatment and perform rigorous follow-up to ensure treatment completion. The United Nations High Level Meeting on TB (2018) recommended that globally 30 million people be put on treatment for LTBI by 2022 in order to meet WHO End TB targets.
There is evidence and greater consensus among global experts that countries with high burden such as India should also address latent TB along with TB disease. Therefore, India is determined to address LTBI and be an important player at the forefront of the fight against TB.
PARTNERS TO THE SESSION
The Union World Conference on Lung Health is the world’s largest gathering of clinicians and public health workers, health programme managers, policymakers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease, with a focus specifically on the challenges faced by low-and lower-middle income populations.
Of the 10 million people who die each year from lung diseases, some 80 percent live in these resource-limited settings. The Union World Conference attracts thousands of delegates from more than 130 countries and brings recognised global experts and opinion formers from all over the world to take part in the over 300 sessions offered by the four-day scientific programme.
The India Health Fund (IHF) a collaborative initiative led by the Tata Trusts, endeavours to leverage the power of collective impact to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 and malaria by 2027 from India with a single motto of fostering innovations in India.
The India Health Fund partners with government, technical institutions, international and local donor agencies to support innovations and technologies designed to combat TB and Malaria. IHF aligns with and complements Government of India’s (GoI) efforts to fight the epidemics.
IHF incorporated as Confluence for Health Action and Transformation Foundation, is a section 8 company registered under the Companies Act 2013. It is seeded by Tata Trusts with strategic support from the Global Fund.
Sanofi is a global healthcare company committed to improving access to healthcare and supporting people throughout their health journey. In India, Sanofi has been present for over 60 years, since 1956 – and has dedicated itself to making India a ‘healthier’ nation, by building expertise, capability & capacity.
Sanofi prides in helping prevent diseases, achieve wellness and treat a vast range of illnesses – some common, and some rare. From prevention to treatment, Sanofi transforms scientific innovation into healthcare solutions in – diabetes & cardiovascular solutions, central nervous system, infectious diseases, multiple sclerosis, thrombosis, renal & transplant, rare diseases, human vaccines, biosurgery and consumer healthcare.
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“The commitment of the National TB Programme towards tackling LTBI at the moment is building up. Almost every district in India has a District TB forum with the focus to end TB which shows the commitment from the government”- Dr K.S. Sachdeva Dy. Director General, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program, India
“There are many strategies that could be adopted to eliminate TB but in my opinion tackling Latent TB has to be an essential part of the ‘End TB’ strategy.”- Dr Rohit Sarin, Director, National Institute for Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi
“As health care practitioners, we mostly focus on diagnosing and treating TB patients. But talking about prevention is also important. Only then can we break the cycle of disease transmission. It is also crucial to address myths surrounding the disease to ensure that a TB patient is not feared and discriminated against. People must know that TB is curable, and that it is not a lifetime disease.”- Dr Karuna Sagili, Technical Advisor, Research, The Union, India.
Latent Tuberculosis Infection affects large number of Indians especially the high risk groups. The immediate call for action is to join hands and invest in innovation to prevent progression to active Tuberculosis. – Jayeeta Chowdhury, India Health Fund