New drug to treat chronic TB for six months

PATIENTS with Chronic Tuberculosis or Drug Resistant TB (DR- TB) can now be treated for six months only using a new drug known as BPal.

This was said over by the Community Engagement Coordinator of the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) Dr Omar Juma, noting that in the past, the patients were receiving the treatment in a period of not less than four years.

He made the statement while launching one day training to the Journalists organised by the IHI, Bagamoyo centre earlier this week.

“Our Centre has received the drug which is known as BPal and we have tested it for treating chronic TB patients and the results are very good”, he said.

Dr Juma added that upon finalisation of all the processes, the government through the Ministry of Health will make the statement of the official use of the new drug.

Reports show that the new drug is now being used in more than 35 countries around the world, a number of people who may be eligible for the treatments are estimated to be 500, 000 per year.

Drug resistant TB develops as a result of long term drug use or when people contract TB from other people who have drug resistant diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 150,000 cases of drug resistant TB cases were diagnosed.

In another development, Dr Juma urged journalists to write with accuracy all reports related to the activities which are under IHI so as not to mislead the society.

He said that in different times, there have been misleading headlines and reports on what the centre is doing.

IHI is one of the health institutions in the country; it was established in 1956, currently; the institution has centers in Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, Ifakara (Morogoro), Bagamoyo and Rufiji districts of the Coast region.

“Since we are doing clinical trials of the vaccines and drugs which have already been invented then it’s a duty of journalists to report accurately,” he said.

Since 2008, the IHI Bagamoyo Centre has been working closely with the communities through the Community Advisory Board (CAB) which is formed by two members from each village in Bagamoyo district.

CAB’s Chairperson Sayed Hai explained that the board is working as a bridge between the IHI and the communities.

“IHI conducts training to CAB members on the kind of research they want to do in the communities,” he said.

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