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TB activists warn govt against using injection Kanamycin; could camel milk help?

By Rosamma Thomas* 
The Central Tuberculosis Division called on states to use up unused stock of the injection Kanamycin, used to treat acute bacterial infections including TB. Over 54 lakh vials of this drug lie unused, and the Centre instructed States in a letter on January 24, 2022 to use up stocks.
TB activists have appealed to the government to honour its commitment to use only oral drugs for drug resistant TB. The injectible Kanamycin is associated with side effects like hearing loss and kidney function impairment. Among the signatories to the letter are people who have suffered hearing loss after the use of this drug.
The letter writers point out that the drug was earlier difficult to replace since there were no antibiotics to deal with drug resistant TB. There are however, two new oral drugs that can be used instead – bedaquiline and delamanid.
The letter calls on the Central government to drop Kanamycin and stop pushing it in government centres. Already existing stocks could be redirected for non-TB use, they suggest.
TB is both caused by malnutrition and leaves those suffering from it prone to poor nutrition. The use of a regular diet of camel milk in Rajasthan has been shown to have beneficial effect on patients of TB.
Rupa Ram
Rupa Ram, 45, had been ailing for years and under treatment for TB in Udaipur and Pali government hospitals in Rajasthan. He was bed-ridden, and when his health deteriorated, he could barely even muster the strength to spit out the drool that flowed from his mouth. His mother tended to him, and heard that camel milk could have a good impact on patients. A regular diet of camel milk was started, after doctors told the family that hope of recovery was dim.
“He would need to be fed camel milk which was dipped in cotton and squeezed into his mouth, in the early days. Over time, he began to drink more milk. We supplied him a litre each day for about eight months,” says Daili Bai, who hails from a Raika camel herding family and assists in the work of Camel Charisma, a dairy in Sadri of Pali district in Rajasthan.
“I am deeply grateful,” says Rupa Ram, who now works on his farm. Although he is still quite thin, he is in good health and credits his recovery to the steady supply of camel milk.
*Freelance journalist based in Pune



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