India is gearing up to host the 50 th Union World Conference on Lung Health from October 30 to November 2 in Hyderabad. While India continues to be among the high-burden countries, being a host to the prestigious conference will bring the world’s focus on India’s TB situation. Ahead of the conference,The Hindulooks at the recently released Global TB report by the World Health Organization to get a perspective on where India stands.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (TB) is contagious and airborne.
It is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis , which is spread when people who are sick with TB expel bacteria into the air; for example, by coughing.
It typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites (extrapulmonary TB).
About a quarter of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis and thus at risk of developing TB disease.
TB situation in the world
TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2018.
It is also the leading killer of people with HIV and a major cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance.
Eight countries accounted for 66% of the new cases: India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa.
In 2018, 1.5 million people died from TB, including 2, 51, 000 people with HIV.
Among cases of multi drug resistant TB in 2018, 6.2 % were estimated to have extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB).
TB in India
The three countries with the largest share of the global burden were India (27%), China (14%) and the Russian Federation (9%) .
India accounted for 35 % of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people, and for 30% of the combined total number of TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people.
In India, notifications increased from 1.2 million in 2013 to 2 million in 2018 ( 60%), including a 12% increase of 207 000 between 2017 and 2018.
The Center has been extremely forthcoming in terms of budget, advocacy and commitment towards ending TB. It is very encouraging when the Center is open to new ideas and innovations and this attitude will go a long way. There is already a lot of focus on getting more human resources, research and development for new anti-TB drugs and awareness campaigns for behavior change. A more aggressive push can be given to these aspects.
–Dr. Daksha Shah, deputy health officer and TB expert, BMC
The involvement of private practitioners in the government Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program has been a game -changer. The anti-TB drugs and investigations and very expensive in the private sector which often leads to patients dropping out midway. By involving private practitioners, the government has allowed the patients to be in the private sector and use the resources from the public sector. While this engagement is running well in Maharashtra, it needs to be strengthened in other States to fight TB better.
– Dr. Vikas Oswal, chest physician
(Source: WHO Global TB Report 2019)