Tuberculosis in India: A Persistent Public Health Challenge

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health challenge in India, accounting for a significant burden of morbidity and mortality. Despite significant efforts by the government and other stakeholders, India still has the highest burden of TB in the world. 21.4 Lakh TB cases notified in India in 2021, its 18% higher than 2020. Over 22 crore people screened for TB in 2021 across the country for early detection and treatment of TB. Under the new initiative Pradhan Mantri ‘TB Mukt Bharat’ Abhiyan, more than 40,000 ‘Nikshay Mitra’ supporting over 10.45 Lakh TB patients all over the country.

The Burden of TB in India: India has the highest burden of TB in the world, accounting for around 27% of the global TB cases. In 2020, India reported 2.64 million TB cases, which is more than four times the number of cases reported by the second-highest burden country, Indonesia. In addition, India also has the highest number of TB-related deaths in the world, with an estimated 79,000 people dying from TB in 2020.

The high burden of TB in India can be attributed to various factors, including poverty, malnutrition, overcrowding, and limited access to healthcare. TB is more prevalent in low-income communities where people are more likely to live in overcrowded and poorly ventilated spaces, which makes the transmission of the disease easier. Malnutrition and other illnesses can also weaken the immune system, making people more vulnerable to TB.

मानहानि केसः दो साल की सजा के बाद कांग्रेस के युवराज राहुल गांधी की सदस्यता रद्द
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भाजपाः राजस्थान, बिहार, ओडिशा और दिल्ली को मिले नये प्रदेश अध्यक्ष

Challenges in Prevention and Control: There are several challenges in the prevention and control of TB in India. One of the major challenges is the lack of awareness and stigma surrounding TB. Many people in India are not aware of the symptoms of TB and do not seek medical help until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. There is also a stigma associated with TB, which can prevent people from seeking medical help or disclosing their illness to others.

Another challenge is the inadequate healthcare infrastructure in many parts of the country. India has a shortage of healthcare workers, and many healthcare facilities lack the resources and equipment needed to diagnose and treat TB effectively. This can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can make the disease more difficult to treat and increase the risk of transmission.

Efforts to Address TB in India: The Indian government has taken several measures to address the TB epidemic in the country. The government launched the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) in 1997, which has since been renamed the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP). The program aims to provide universal access to TB diagnosis and treatment and has made significant progress in reducing TB incidence and mortality in the country.

In addition to the government’s efforts, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations are also working to address TB in India. These organizations are providing support for TB diagnosis and treatment, as well as education and awareness programs to increase knowledge about TB and reduce stigma.

Worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19 (above HIV/AIDS). In 2021, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis (TB) worldwide. Six million men, 3.4 million women and 1.2 million children.

The WHO released the Global TB Report 2022 on October 27, 2022. The Report notes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis, treatment and burden of disease for TB all over the world.

While there have been significant efforts to address the issue, there are still many challenges that need to be overcome. To effectively address TB in India, it is crucial to increase awareness and reduce stigma around the disease, improve healthcare infrastructure and resources, and provide universal access to TB diagnosis and treatment. By working together, government, NGOs, and international organizations can help to eliminate TB in India and improve the health and well-being of millions of people.

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