National Programme Officer of the National Tuberculosis Programme Dr Md Mojibur Rahman said they would shorten the treatment of the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to nine months from two years from January.
“We got the WHO’s approval in May. The new course will be shorter and cheaper,” he said on Wednesday at a discussion with journalists.
TB is fully curable if properly treated. But in case of the MDR-TB, which is the outcome of mismanagement of TB treatment, the cure rate is 50 percent.
The MDR-TB treatment is also comparatively difficult as patients have to take drugs for two years, compared with six to nine months for general TB.
Bangladesh, however, showed that using a combination of available drugs in different doses can reduce the treatment course to nine months.
This study was again conducted in nine French-speaking African countries which showed similar results.
The NTP officer Rahman told bdnews24.comthat with the new treatment plan, the total cost would be below $1000, compared with current price tag of over $4000.
The government distributes all TB drugs free as part of a national programme.
TB is one of the oldest diseases to infect humans and now ranks alongside HIV/AIDS as the top infectious killer worldwide.
The WHO says MDR-TB comprises three percent of new TB cases globally. In 2014, its estimated 480,000 such cases.
Bangladesh estimates the MDR-TB rate 6 per 100,000 people.