Tuberculosis (TB) infects 316 Indians per 100,000 — way above the 193 predicted by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019 — according to the National TB Prevalence Survey 2019-2021, unveiled March 24, 2022, to mark World TB Day.
Key Findings of National TB Prevalence Survey 2019-2021
- Delhi has the highest burden of all forms of TB and pulmonary TB — at 747 per 100,000 and 534 per 100,000 respectively.
- Gujarat has the lowest burden of all forms of TB at 137 per 100,000 while Kerala is the lowest in pulmonary TB at 151 per 100,000. TB prevalence is much lower among women — 154 per 100,000 — as compared to men — 472 per 100,000.
- TB prevalence among those above the age of 15 such as older age groups, males, the malnourished, smokers, alcoholics and diabetic patients was 31.4 per cent.
- A majority of those who were symptomatic (64 per cent), did not seek healthcare services. Their reasons ranged from ignoring the symptoms (68 per cent), not recognising the symptoms as TB (18 per cent) and self-treatment (12 per cent).
- Two per cent couldn’t afford to seek care. The remaining 36 per cent who sought care, had an equal preference for private and government institutions.
- Annual TB cases in India rose 19 per cent to 1,933,381 in 2021. Also, 493,000 TB deaths were recorded, excluding HIV — a 13 per cent hike from the previous year. There is birectional screening for both, HIV and TB.
- India remains the highest contributor to global TB cases, accounting for 26 per cent of total cases and 34 per cent of all deaths worldwide.
- We should prioritise the interventions in high-prevalence states with a focus on screening of the elderly, malnourished, diabetics and implement strategies to reduce the prevalence to notification gap,
- We have to continue engaging the private sector for increased case notification.
- We have to focus on health education in the general community for symptom awareness and to improve the health seeking behaviour of the symptomatic.
- Further evaluation, to assess the impact of COVID-19 on TB estimates in the high and low burden states is ongoing.
Steps Taken for TB
- The National TB Programme (NTP) was launched by the Government of India in 1962 in the form of District TB Centre model involved with BCG vaccination and TB treatment.
- The Government of India revitalized NTP as Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).
- RNTCP has released a ‘National strategic plan for tuberculosis 2017-2025’ (NSP) for the control and elimination of TB in India by 2025. According to the NSP TB elimination have been integrated into the four strategic pillars of “Detect – Treat – Prevent – Build” (DTPB).
- Case-based web-based TB surveillance system called “NIKSHAY”
- Free drugs and diagnostic tests are provided to TB patients seeking treatment from private health sector.
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