PANAJI: Death rate due to tuberculosis in Goa is highest in the country, informed Epidemiology Foundation of India(EFI) Vice President Ashok Bhardwaj.
He was speaking to media persons during briefing about two day long EFICON-2023 conference to be held at GMC from tomorrow with the theme “Innovative strategies in Public Health”.
GMC Dean Dr Bandekar attributed the problem to alcoholism in the state. He pointed out that there is a strong reaction between TB drugs and alcohol and at times medicines have to be withdrawn as the liver of alcoholic persons does not support the drugs making the bacteria become resistant.
He went on to inform that the state committee has devised a comprehensive care strategy wherein known alcoholics are admitted in the hospital to ensure that they do not consume alcohol till their bacterial load decreases.
Services of Psychiatric doctors are also used to counsel the patient to stay away from alcohol, he added. Efforts are on to eliminate TB by 2025, he asserted.
In 2021, there was a steep increase in the number of new TB patients with 2,018 cases reported and the disease claiming the lives of 89 more victims.
Incidentally, as per research paper published in Nation Library of Medicine there was 143.1% increase in TB deaths in Goa in 2021 as compared to 2019.
The increase in the number of TB cases in 2022 may not have been as steep as in the previous year but the number of deaths almost doubled to 175.
This year up to June 30, Goa has reported 871 new TB patients and the same trend of high fatalities at 93, Pawar’s written reply revealed.
Meanwhile, another striking feature of the data provided in Rajya Sabha by Pawar indicates that the disease is targeting citizens in the age group of 14 to 44 and 45 to 64.