On the eve of the World TB Day, the World Health Organisation, on Friday urged the countries to harness the power of technology for early diagnosis of tuberculosis while stressing on more investment into research to prevent its transmission.
WHO regional director for South-east Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, also asked the countries to ensure all persons that have had contact with a TB patient are traced and also screened for the disease.
"Similarly, greater attention should be given to managing latent TB lest it become active, especially for persons living with HIV. Investing in research aimed at developing tools to prevent TB transmission (and that can be applied to large populations) should likewise be prioritized," Singh said.
She termed the recent region-wide progress as both significant and highly encouraging, and lauded the member countries for increasing their domestic funding for TB programmes with two of them have done so by more than 100 per cent.
"All member countries have accelerated active case-finding. Patient-centered policies have been developed and implemented, including direct cash transfers and nutritional support for persons suffering TB and plans have been developed to engage civil society organizations," she said.
Maintaining the Region's leadership, drive and momentum ahead of September's High-Level Meeting on TB, which will occur alongside the UN General Assembly, is of vital importance, she said while seeking commitment from all levels of society, starting from the highest offices of government to community health workers and volunteers.