Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | 14:06 WIB

Waiting for commitment of short duration TB drug therapy

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Jakarta, IO – Indonesia, the country with the second-highest burden of tuberculosis (known as TBC or TB) globally, has made efforts to eradicate the disease, managing to record significant success last year, namely, the highest case report or notification in the history of TB in Indonesia. This was emerged at the 37th Stop TB Partnership (STP) Board Meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday (9/2/2024). 

“Previously, Indonesia could only detect 400,000-500,000 TB cases; this even fell to around 300,000 during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in 2022 case detection rose to 724,000, then rose again to 809,000 cases in 2023. Indonesia continues to be committed to increasing the number of reported cases to 900,000 from the estimated one million TB cases in 2024. Indonesia also determined to providing shorter TB treatment, strengthening collaboration with the community, and innovating financing for TB services. Eliminating TB will have a positive impact on economic growth in Indonesia,” said Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin. 

Hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to learn and sacrifice prove that eradicating TB globally is not a coincidence, but rather a future signal of success, one that can be achieved together. Efforts made by the government to eradicate TB include collaborating with the community and health cadres to screen the 2.2 million population at high risk of TB. 

“We are involving the community to form the TB Army, a trained community for TB survivors who help detect and monitor MDR (multidrug-resistant) TB patients,” he said. MDR TB is a strain that is resistant to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. This means that these drugs are no longer effective in killing TB bacteria in the sufferer’s body. 

Building Bodily Immunity 

The Minister of Health added that Indonesia ensures that TB treatment is accessible to everyone. “Indonesia is one of the first countries in Asia to launch BPaL (bedaquiline, pretomanid, and linezolid) and BPaLM (bedaquiline, pretomanid, linezolid, and moxifloxacin) therapy. This treatment is known as a ‘short-term oral regimen for drug-resistant (TB RO)’. It promises to help shorten TB RO treatment to six months. Previously, short-term treatment for TB RO patients lasted 9-11 months and used injections.” 

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In addition, Indonesia is supporting operational research on the potential for shorter treatment regimens for drug-sensitive (TB SO). If TB RO requires a more complex treatment approach because the bacteria that causes TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is resistant to certain drugs, TB SO can be treated with a standard regimen. However, the current duration of TB SO treatment is still around 6-9 months. 

On a separate occasion, the Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control at the Ministry of Health, dr. Imran Pambudi, MPHM, appealed to the public to be disciplined in implementing a clean and healthy lifestyle, avoiding contact with people suffering from TB, and maintaining immunity with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. If the risk is high, people are asked to consider BCG vaccination and regular health checks. (est)

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