What Is Tuberculosis? Lifestyle Changes And Community Participation

World tuberculosis day is observed on March 24 every year to raise awareness about the disease. Read on to know how the community can intervene to prevent and control the spread of TB.

Just like cancer, tuberculosis reminds us of the image of people coughing and being in critical conditions fighting with death. Tuberculosis is a preventable and curable disease, but the impact it has when untreated on the lives and development of millions of children and adolescents is severe. Young children represent about 11 per cent of all people with TB globally and this sums up to 1.1 million children and young adolescents aged under 15 years falling ill with TB every year, and more than 2,25,000 of them losing their lives globally. Third world countries and impoverished sections of society majorly succumb to TB infections because of poor hygiene and other lifestyle-related issues.

What Is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and results in serious complications like fever, cough, weight loss. With 26 per cent of cases reported in India in 2020, pulmonary tuberculosis is the most common form of TB in India. TB can be active in form of latent being passive with regards to exhibiting symptoms. People with poor lung strength, lower immunity like HIV etc. apart from old age people and patients having wheezing, coughs etc. are among the vulnerable sections who need to be vigilant and aware. This bacterial infection can infect virtually any part of the human body.

We need to have strong checks and balances by coming up with lifestyle changes in the form of having proper breathing exercises in our schedule, regular Yoga practice, masking in crowded places, adopting preventive measures while working with sick patients or residential homes having old age people or patients etc.

Tuberculosis In Women

Women affected with TB face huge social stigma and other forms of discrimination. According to a joint report (2010-13) of the Registrar General of India and the Centre for Global Health Research, TB was the fifth-leading cause of death among women in the country, nearly accounting for 5 per cent of deaths in women aged between 30 70. With women patients paying a much higher socio-economic price in the form of negative impacts on marital prospects and other stigma attached to the society and family, it is a sad reality that only fewer women get access to the care for TB in India.

Lifestyle Changes And Community Participation

Also, constant practice of smoking as well as not caring about symptoms like leg swelling, repeated fevers, skin rashes and psoriasis in some rare cases, unhygienic oral hygiene, coughs, sneezes, heavyweight loss, fatigue etc. needs serious introspection.

We need more community participation in terms of being part of doctor’s talks, workshops, expert-based articles, seminars, films, and documentaries and effectively engaging with the media through a focussed aim of eradicating TB within a time-bound, say a decade’s time. In the US, the TB infection rate started decreasing from 1993 as their focussed approach with community engagement and proactive measures of vaccination and treatment resulted in successfully keeping TB under control. Similarly, we too can have more focussed clinical trials for coming up with vaccination against TB as well as spend more on healthcare research with regards to research on tuberculosis.

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