Ludhiana, September 20
Living in the same household as a tuberculosis (TB) patient can be dangerous, especially for children. Keeping this in mind, a short-course treatment, the 3RH treatment regimen, has been initiated by the government to prevent TB infection in pediatric contacts.
As part of this campaign, a combination of two drugs is given for a period of three months to those under the age of 15. Since children have low immunity and are vulnerable to infections, a short-term course has been organized for them. Dr Ashish Chawla, District TB Officer
To speed up the ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ campaign, the Indian government has selected five states to launch a new ‘3RH’ scheme and Punjab is one of them.
“As part of this campaign, a combination of two drugs is given for a period of three months to those under the age of 15. The preventive treatment given to adults lasts six months, but many leave it in between due to its long duration. Since children have low immunity and are more vulnerable to infections, so a short term course has been arranged for them,” said District TB Officer Dr Ashish Chawla.
“To begin with, 30 to 40 TB contacts have received this drug and more will be covered in the coming days,” Dr Chawla said.
“Around 7,500 beneficiaries are already receiving preventive treatment against tuberculosis. Now the pediatric group is also included in the new scheme,” added Dr Chawla.
“Preventive treatment has proven to be an effective intervention to prevent the development of TB disease. The likelihood of progression from TB infection to active disease depends on bacterial, host and environmental factors,” said Dr Chawla.
“Four target populations for preventive treatment include people living with HIV, children, household contacts of bacteriologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis cases, all household contacts of bacteriologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis cases, and clinical risk groups,” said added Dr. Chawla.
“All household contacts of Pulmonary TB patients need preventative drugs and Government of India provides the same free of charge. Family members just need to make sure to take proper drugs suggested by doctors. For this, a dedicated team is working under TB-alert India to provide preventative medicine at home,” said Dr Harpreet Bains and Amrinder, from the district TB centre.