Replacing the current treatment for the patients diagnosed with tuberculosis and with multi-drug resistant TB, as well as the access to innovative medicines are mandatory so that the disease should not be a public health problem anymore, read the conclusions of a report on tuberculosis in Romania conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit with Janssen support. Another solution recommended by the report points to a higher active involvement of the family phisician in diagnosing the cases and to the non-hospital treatment. The report was presented within „Mediafax Talks Health Conference” on Friday, reads a press release sent to our editorial office.
The report comes against alarming statistics in our country: 13,000 new TB case are tracked down in Romania on an annual basis, which counts for about a quarter of all cases across European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).
„Although we talk about a curable disease, the high number of new patients is closely linked to the fact that, at present there are many impendiments to efficiently track down and treat the patients with multi-drug resistant TB. Currently, only 60 percent of them are identified due to the low number of diagnosis centers and to the long period of hospitalization, minimum six monts, which make a lot of them abandon the treatment. Among those, we estimate that only 20 percent are successfully treated. The solution to improve these statistics is the access to second-line drug treatments that lead to a faster recovery, decrease the hospitalization period and thus improve the patients’ life quality,” said doctor Victor Olsavszky, representative of the World Health Organization.
According to Martin Koehring, Senior Editor la The Economist Intelligence Unit, Romania has made significant progress in tackling tuberculosis since the 90s. He revealed that about a quarter of cases in Romania related to multi-drug resistant TB, with a 80 pc diagnosis rate at present compared to 55 pc in 1996. The recovery rate also improved, reaching to 68 pc.
„Yet, TB remains a major public health problem in Romania, particularly the multi-drug resistant TB. The committments comprised in the new 2015-2020 National Strategic Plan look promising, as plan gives hope that the challenges related to the multi-drug TB will be more efficiently approached. However, there are still doubts regarding the political engagement and the persistant social stigmatization,” EIU journalist noted.
And the social barriers are surely representing a reality, as most of the TB patients are facing the stigmatization inside the community or at work. Silvia Asandi, ‚Romanian Angel Appeal’ director thinks there a lot of reasons to hope for a change, while describing the plan as ‚a huge step forward.’
The pharmaceutical companies also came in. „Public health policies must lend support to the patients and encourgae their treatment liability, as the treatment is a difficult one due to its length, associated additional costs and side effects. In exchange, innovative medicines can help patients to revert to the pre-diagnosis life, as they considerably cut the treatment period. We have been active partners of the authorities and patients. We are confident that the committment of all of us will be a real, long lasting one,” said Jacopo Murzi, Managing Director, Janssen Romania.