China News Network, March 3 (Zhang Nigong Hongyu) "The difficulties in the prevention and control of tuberculosis are mainly the problem of drug resistance and the lack of vaccines with good protective power. That's why, after so many years of efforts and measures, it's still hard to control, and from time to time new clusters of TB are emerging. Shen Hongbing, deputy director of the National Disease Control Administration and director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with reporters.

Infographic: A doctor operates an instrument. Photo courtesy of Fukang Hospital in Tibet

The average cost of treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis patients in China is about 16,<> yuan

3 March is World TB Day.

For many years, the high incidence of tuberculosis has been a major public health problem in our country. According to the World Health Organization's Global TB Report 2022, there were about 2021.1060 million TB patients worldwide in <>, and the number of drug-resistant TB patients has also increased.

According to information released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated number of new tuberculosis patients in China in 2021 was 78,0, and the incidence of tuberculosis was 55/10,<>.

Shen Hongbing said in an interview with reporters that the difficulties in the prevention and control of tuberculosis are mainly drug resistance and the lack of vaccines with good protective power. In addition, tuberculosis usually has a slow onset, is not easy to detect early, and is easy to spread in crowded places.

It is worth noting that patients are still facing the problem of medical burden.

Shen Hongbing told reporters that from the perspective of treatment costs, the current free treatment of tuberculosis only includes first-line anti-tuberculosis drugs, that is, the drug costs of ordinary (sensitive) tuberculosis treatment, excluding auxiliary treatment drugs. The treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis mainly depends on medical insurance, but the insurance payment ratio is low (about 50-70% of the national level), and the average treatment cost of drug-resistant tuberculosis patients is about 16,<> yuan, and the cost burden is relatively high.

Infographic: People use terminal equipment in medical institutions. Photo by Zhang Tianfu

The state intervenes to reduce the burden on patients

In fact, the national level has always attached great importance to reducing the burden on patients.

In February this year, the National Disease Control Administration and the National Health Commission issued the Notice on Further Strengthening the Prevention and Control of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis.

The notice requires all localities to actively implement the spirit of the relevant documents of the National Health Insurance Administration, and include drug-resistant tuberculosis in the management of outpatient chronic diseases, which can refer to inpatient management and payment. Second-line anti-tuberculosis drugs that have a good effect on the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis and are more expensive are not included in the calculation of drug proportions. At the same time, it is advocated that all localities reduce drug prices through centralized bidding and procurement at the provincial level.

In addition, during this year's National Two Sessions, Zhang Wenhong, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a professor at Huashan Hospital of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, told the media that in order to promote the goal of ending the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030, he suggested promoting free tuberculosis medical treatment.

In Zhang Wenhong's view, in recent years, China has actively promoted the action plan to curb tuberculosis, but the tuberculosis epidemic situation is still grim, and there are often patients who cannot complete treatment due to economic reasons, resulting in the continuous spread of the disease cannot be stopped.

He once suggested that a multi-channel comprehensive security system for free tuberculosis medical care should be established; Steadily promote local policies in accordance with local conditions and ensure that they should be fully cured; Increase central financial support for tuberculosis public health services.

"The public's awareness of tuberculosis prevention and treatment is relatively low, and it can be improved from the perspective of social awareness, and good personal hygiene habits are actively advocated, no spitting, frequent ventilation, regular work and rest, balanced nutrition, etc." Shen Hongbing emphasized.

Shen Hongbing believes that China is working towards the goal of ending the tuberculosis epidemic strategy set by the United Nations and the World Health Organization by 2030, and China is actively promoting comprehensive prevention and control measures such as the "tuberculosis-free community" initiative, carrying out multi-sectoral cooperation and tuberculosis prevention and control publicity actions for millions of volunteers. It is hoped that through the efforts of many parties, China can truly achieve the goal of ending the tuberculosis epidemic. (End)