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DATA STORY: Tuberculosis

  • Published
    30th Mar, 2022

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most ancient diseases of mankind and has co-evolved with humans for many thousands of years or perhaps for several million years. Tuberculosis is caused by a group of closely related bacterial species termed Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

Tuberculosis commonly affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It spreads from person to person through the air, when people who are infected with TB infection cough, sneeze or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. It is a disease that can be cured with proper treatment. 

According to WHO, TB is a worldwide pandemic. Among the 15 countries with the highest estimated TB incidence rates, 13 are in Africa, while half of all new cases are in six Asian countries, viz., Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.  India accounts for one-fourth of the global TB burden.

All health care providers (both public and private providers), laboratories, and chemists have to notify the TB cases to local government health authorities. Notification of cases is done with the case-based web-based TB surveillance system called “NIKSHAY”.

Free TB drugs are provided under the programme in the form of daily fixed-dose combinations (FDCs) for all TB cases on the strategy of directly observed therapy (DOT). DOT is a specific strategy, to improve adherence by any person observing the patient taking medications in real-time. The treatment observer does not need to be a healthcare worker but could be a friend, a relative, or a layperson who works as a treatment supervisor or supporter. If treatment is incomplete, patients may not be cured and drug resistance may develop. 

This data story aims to highlight Tuberculosis.


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