WHO signs pact to fight TB in India

The World Health Organization has signed a pact with the International Pharmaceutical Federation to collaborate ion a series of measures to reduce the number of tuberculosis deaths in India.
The pact was signed on Sunday at the 71st International FIP Congress in Hyderabad, India. TB is one of the world's most deadly and infectious diseases and caused 1.7 million deaths in 2009. Close to 300,000 of the deaths were in India, IBN Live reports.
Experts say that TB is curable and that patients can be treated with a six month course of medication. The joint effort by FIP and the WHO will give prominence to pharmacists, who are often the first point of contact for people with TB symptoms, particularly in countries with a high TB burden. FIP and the WHO will jointly detect TB patients and offer treatment through FIP's network of two million pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacists around the world.
“Pharmacists can be the gatekeepers to vital TB health services," Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, the assistant director-general of the WHO, said, according to IBN Live. "WHO welcomes the opportunities that further collaboration with the federation’s network of pharmacists will bring in helping many people with tuberculosis gain early access to the care and treatment they need."
As part of the partnership, FIP and the WHO will provide patient-centered treatment supervision to promote adherence and help prevent cases of multi-drug resistant TB. Pharmacists will refer patients with TB symptoms to facility with quality treatment and diagnosis.
“The FIP will endeavor to support WHO and their member-states in enabling national tuberculosis programs and national pharmacy associations to strengthen their collaboration towards care and control of TB and multidrug-resistant TB globally,” Dr. Michle Buchmann, FIP's president, said, according to IBN Live.