The government will soon set up an email repository to establish better connectivity between the government and all doctors in the country, union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said here Saturday.He said that the email repository will help in pooling resources to lower the disease burden and will improve the connectivity between the doctors in government and private practice."The repository could be utilised to spread information, on new medical knowledge, to all doctors or even for research by Indian Council of Medical Research and other organisations," Vardhan said speaking at the inauguration of the First National TB Drug Resistance Survey.He said that the email repository would especially help in the national fight against TB. It would facilitate instant transmission of news to all health authorities, public health and healthcare providers.
Vardhan emphasised that the survey, which would be held in collaboration with WHO and USAID, will have the largest ever sample size - 5,214 - covering 120 TB units in 24 states."The patients to be surveyed are both first-time and re-treatment cases. Their resistance levels against 13 anti-TB drugs would be observed - five of them first-line and eight second-line," he said."The international significance of the survey findings and analysis based on them would help form a better understanding of TB not only in India but all over the world. The earlier surveys were carried out in Bangladesh, Brazil and China but had smaller sample sizes and covered just four drugs," he added.The minister said that India accounts for 99,000 of the global burden of 390,000 multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB cases annually - 25 percent of the total burden."The mortality associated with this form of TB is higher than drug-susceptible TB. Now, an even bigger challenge has emerged called "Extensively drug-resistant TB" (XDR-TB)," he said.
"The use of Information and Communication Technology will help in real time monitoring the survey. It has the potential to allow policymakers devise new strategies to combat MDR TB and identify the accurate channels for funds deployment."Speaking at the occasion, Nata Menabde, WHO country representative in India, stated that the survey would help stakeholders understand the epidemiology of the disease."A lot more will be learnt about the various anti-drug resistant TB strains from this survey which would help us devise strategies," she said.