Emerging lung ailments shifting focus from TB, says expert

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Chestcon Odisha
Dignitaries at the inaugural function of ‘Chestcon Odisha-2023.

Bhubaneswar: Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), an umbrella term used for a plethora of diseases that cause scarring or fibrosis of the lungs, has taken centre-stage which has caused the focus on tuberculosis (TB) to shift elsewhere, eminent pulmonologist Prof. (Dr.) Digambar Behera said on Saturday.

Different kinds of emerging lung ailments have presently engaged pulmonologists across the country while occupational respiratory diseases need attention as well, Prof. (Dr.) Behera said while addressing the inaugural function of ‘Chestcon Odisha-2023’, the 19th annual conference of the Odisha Chest Society at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital here.

“In the process we are forgetting tuberculosis and the focus is shifting elsewhere,” he said while referring to the central government’s aim to eliminate TB from the country by 2025.

“Under the circumstances, it will be tough to achieve this target as India accounts for 27 per cent of all TB patients in the world,” Prof. (Dr.) Behera, an expert on the subject, said adding the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) could not be neglected.

Tuberculosis, he said, was not to be dealt by pulmonologists alone as 20 per cent of the disease was extra pulmonary which affected other organs of the body outside lungs.

Referring to the post-Covid situation, Prof. (Dr.) Behera said medical practitioners had to cope with it while pointing out that lung transplantation was much in demand at present. “However, Covid did teach us how to organise things at short notice,” he said.

In the post-Covid scenario, it had become imperative for pulmonologists and critical care experts to work together, Prof. (Dr.) Behera said.

Praising IMS and SUM Hospital for the service rendered by it when the state was reeling under Covid, he said the way the hospital treated patients was more than satisfactory and it emerged as one of the best healthcare centres.

Stressing the need for competent pulmonologists, Prof. (Dr.) Behera said “it is not important whether they had the MD or DM degree but the need was that the country should have well-trained pulmonary specialists.”

Prof. (Dr.) Samir Sahu, president of Odisha Chest Society, conducted the programme which was addressed by SOA vice-chancellor Prof. Bijay Kumar Sahoo, dean of IMS and SUM Hospital, Prof. (Dr.) Sanghamitra Mishra, medical superintendent of the hospital Prof. (Dr.) Pusparaj Samantasinhar and secretary of Odisha Chest Society Dr. Manoj Kumar Panigrahi.

Prof. (Dr.) Banani Jena, head of the department of Pulmonary Medicine in IMS and SUM Hospital and organising chairman of the event, said there was a plan to set up an Interventional Pulmonology Centre at IMS and SUM Hospital as also a high end Sleep Lab for research and management of sleep disorders.

The other projects included establishment of a state-of-the-art Respiratory ICU and Allergy and Immunology Clinic, she said.

Two senior pulmonologists of the state Prof. (Dr.) Pravati Dutta and Dr. Niranjan Das were felicitated on the occasion.

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