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In TB detection, India far from meeting the 2025 goal

Published: 17th Aug, 2023

Context

Three years after the launch of the revised National Strategic Plan 2020-2025 to end TB, India is nowhere near meeting this target.

Status of TB in India:

  • India’s TB incidence rate stands at 196 per 1,00,000 population, instead of the 210 estimated by the WHO, and the estimated deaths from the communicable disease stand at 3.20 lakh, instead of the 4.94 lakh that was projected in 2021.
  • However, due to factors such as poverty, uneven healthcare access, stigma and low health-seeking behaviour, TB remains a significant problem in the country, with India contributing more than 20% of the global infection burden.
  • Tribal communities in India are particularly affected, accounting for 10.4% of all TB cases.
  • The Health Ministry noted that as per this data, the global TB reduction numbers stand at 11% while the reduction in TB cases in India is 18%.

About TB:

  • TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, belonging to the Mycobacteriaceae family consisting of about 200 members.
  • In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB).
  • TB is a very ancient disease and has been documented to have existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC.
  • TB is a treatable and curable disease.
  • Transmission: TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.

 

Major challenges faced by India in controlling TB

Required measures to address the issue.

  • Lack of Awareness and Stigma
  • Delay in diagnosis and care seeking
    • Delay in sputum sample collection and transportation hinders timely diagnosis.
  • Poor Healthcare Infrastructure
  • Poverty and Malnutrition
  • Drug-Resistant TB
  • Co-Infection with HIV
  • Point-of-care testing
  • TB prevention measures
  • TB vaccine rollout
  • Collaborative effort involving community action
  • Technological innovations (AI)
  • Multisectoral partnerships

Important Facts

  • World TB Day is observed on March 24.
  • TB Mukt Bharat (TB-free India): India is committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2025, five years ahead of SDG target timeline.

National and international initiatives:

  • National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP)
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025)
  • The Nikshay Ecosystem (National TB information system)
  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY- financial support)
  • TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign
  • TB Free India Campaign
  • Tribal TB Initiative

Conclusion

By harnessing innovative solutions such as artificial intelligence, forging partnerships with stakeholders, and investing in research and development, India can effectively enhance the capacity of the public health system to eliminate TB and improve the overall health outcomes of our communities.

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