Each year the World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
Despite significant progress over the last decades, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 74 million lives since 2000.
Tuberculosis mostly affects adults in their most productive years. However, all age groups are at risk. Over 80% of cases and deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
People who are infected with HIV are 16 times more likely to develop active TB (see TB and HIV section below). The risk of active TB is also greater in persons suffering from other conditions that impair the immune system. People with undernutrition are 3 times more at risk. Globally in 2021, there were 2.2 million new TB cases that were attributable to undernutrition.
Alcohol use disorder and tobacco smoking increase the risk of TB. In 2021, 0.74 million new TB cases worldwide were attributable to alcohol use disorder and 0.69 million were attributable to smoking.
Source : WHO
TB is the leading infectious killer in India. 2021 witnessed a 19% increase from the previous year in TB patients’ notification - the total number of incident TB patients (new and relapse) notified during 2021 were 19,33,381 as opposed to that of 16,28,161 in 2020.
The government has launched the "TB Free India Campaign" to address the challenge of TB in mission mode to eliminate TB in India by 2025. To achieve 'End TB' targets, the Government has rolled out a "National Strategic Plan (NSP) to end TB by 2025". The NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to ‘Detect’ all TB patients with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations, ‘Treat’ all patient irrespective of where they seek care adopting a patient centric approach, ‘Prevent’ emergence of TB in susceptible population groups and ‘Build’ empowered institutions and human resources to streamline implementation.
Government support to eradicate TB
The Indian government has a National TB programme since 1962; however, after reviewing its effectiveness, the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) was rolled out in phases from 1998. Through the RNTCP, the government provides high-quality free diagnosis, free drugs and free treatment throughout the country.
In April 2018, the government initiated the Nikshay Poshan Yojana – a scheme for nutrition support to TB patients. The scheme provides a financial incentive of Rs. 500 to each notified TB patient through Direct Benefits Transfer for the duration for which the patient is on treatment. All TB patients notified and registered on the Nikshay portal on or after April 1, 2018 and existing TB patients on treatment are eligible to avail of this benefit.
Eighteen States have committed to Ending TB by 2025 by formally implementing State specific Strategic Plans and have gone a step ahead to devise a District-specific Strategic Plan, which shall serve as a guiding tool for the programme managers and staff at the district and sub-district level towards the elimination of Tuberculosis.
Mandatory notification of TB patients : The government issued a gazette notification making it mandatory for doctors, health practitioners and pharmacists to report cases of TB to National TB Programme. Non-compliance of this order could face a jail term of up to two years under sections 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Tribal TB Initiative
Tribal peoples constitute 8.6% of the total population of India. Yet, they account for 10.4% of all notified TB cases in India. India’s aim to eliminate TB by 2025 cannot be fulfilled without a focused effort to fight TB among tribal communities.
Recognising the need to consolidate effort investment towards eliminating TB among tribal communities, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs collectively launched the Tribal TB Initiative on 26th March 2021.
For effective engagement of the community in the path towards ending TB in India, MoHFW is implementing the “Community Support to TB patients - Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.
Source : Central TB Division
Last Modified : 3/24/2023
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