Some yet to be treated TB patients in Yangon found drug-resistant

Ei Thinzar Kyaw

Among about 6,000 tuberculosis patients in Yangon Region, who have not sought medical treatment, are found to be suffering from drug-resistant TB, according to a teachership training course on "Cover Your Cough" organised by the Public Health Department and the Basic Education Department in Yangon in the first week of this month.

Out of the 6,000, some are ordinary TB patients while some are drug-resistant TB patients. Moreover, Yangon Region represents about 50 percent of all drug-resistant TB patients. Therefore, those living in Yangon are three times likely to suffer such drug-resistant TB.

The training course aims to disseminate knowledge about good practices to prevent TB and other respiratory diseases through students.

According to data from the national TB control project, Myanmar is still on the list of countries with the  largest TB outbreaks due to irregular medication, increasing rate of drug-resistant TB and combined outbreaks of TB and HIV.

"In Myanmar, 361 in 100,000 people are infected with TB. And 47 in 100,000 people die of that disease. In 2017, 131,775 TB patients, including 49,399 people whose phlegm carried TB virus, were cured. The success in our treatment is over 80 percent. But with some people not taking their medicine regularly, increased drug-resistant TB outbreak, combined outbreak of TB and HIV, malnutrition and diabetes, our country is still on the list of the countries with the largest TB outbreak," said Dr Sithu Aung from the project.

Myanmar is now on the list of 30 countries with the largest TB outbreak, the list of 30 countries with the largest drug-resistant TB outbreak and the list of 30 countries with the largest TB/HIV outbreak.

TB outbreak across the world is decreasing gradually but the rate is on a slow pace, experts say.