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Bangladesh Priorities: Tuberculosis, Vasssall

Tuberculosis (TB) kills 80,000 Bangladeshis each year, constituting about 9 percent of all deaths. Research by Anna Vasssall, a senior lecturer in health economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, outlines a cost-effective TB treatment strategy using community health clinics. 

Standard drugs for TB treatment and follow-up through community clinics costs Tk 7,850 per patient. By treating one person for TB, you also prevent that person from infecting others, which makes treatment an even better investment. In total, each taka spent will do 21 takas of good.

 

Strategy Takas of benefits per taka spent
TB treatment 21
Multi-drug resistant TB treatment 3

Some strains of TB, however, are so-called “multi-drug resistant,” meaning that traditional treatments are not effective. The World Health Organization (WHO) is piloting a “Bangladesh regimen” trial that shortens treatment time for these strains from 24 months to just nine months. But because multi-drug resistant TB is up to 45 times more expensive to treat, each taka spent will do just 3 takas of good. This shows that it can be much more effective to help the larger group of people who can be treated with conventional methods.

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