“Manage TB” – an online course for doctors
Tuberculosis (TB) is an ancient disease that has afflicted mankind since antiquity. Unlike the other historically deadly diseases like small pox, leprosy, plague and cholera, TB, even today continues to be a major public health problem in much of the developing world. India contributes one-fourth of the global burden of TB and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to this illness.
Today we have powerful tools to diagnose and treat TB. However, there are many challenges in its management. The diagnosis is often delayed, treatment durations are much too long and drug resistance is an emerging threat. The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) of the Government of India offers quality assured diagnosis and treatment free of charge to TB patients. But more than half of all TB patients seek care preferentially from the private sector often at exorbitant costs. Recently there have been major developments in the management of TB, particularly in diagnosis and fresh guidelines and protocols have been framed. Doctors serving in the private sector treating TB patients are often outside the scope of these developments.
The online course for doctors “Manage TB” developed by the ICMR-National Institute for Research in TB (NIRT) in collaboration with the NPTEL is an initiative to address this felt need of sensitizing doctors to the standards of care and the new guidelines and developments in the modern management of TB. The course has been designed after extensive discussions with subject experts and has been planned keeping in mind the busy work schedule of doctors in practice. It consists of video lectures, case discussion scenarios and video demonstrations of laboratory procedures. We believe that this is the first course of this nature addressing a specific disease of public health importance in India. We hope that it will benefit doctors treating TB patients and help them to offer care of a higher order to their patients. We also hope it will be of special interest to doctors pursuing postgraduate courses in medicine, paediatrics and chest medicine. We plan to launch this course in the near future.