India needs to focus on TB cases going unreported

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Published: October 19, 2019 3:15:07 AM

Globally, there were 484,000 incident cases of MDR/RR-TB, India accounted for ~50%. However, India has enhanced its registration, and saw notifications double to two million in 2018.

India, TB case,  WHO, Global TB Report, health newsIndia’s TB burden may have declined from 27.4 lakh in 2017 to 26.9 lakh in 2018, but MDR/RR-TB remain big concerns.

The WHO’s Global TB Report, 2019, pegs the persons with TB at 10 million in 2018. The report states that just eight countries account for two-thirds of the total TB burden; India accounts for the highest number (27%) of cases. One of the biggest threats to public health has been multiple drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). In 2018, nearly half a million cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) were reported, of which 78% had MDR-TB. The report attributes the significant treatment success rate for new cases of TB—85% in 2017, up 81% from 2016—to the progress made in India.

India’s TB burden may have declined from 27.4 lakh in 2017 to 26.9 lakh in 2018, but MDR/RR-TB remain big concerns. Globally, there were 484,000 incident cases of MDR/RR-TB, India accounted for ~50%. However, India has enhanced its registration, and saw notifications double to two million in 2018. But TB going unreported is a key issue—WHO estimates such cases to be 540,000.

The good news is that RR-TB notification in India increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% in 2018 because of mandatory testing for resistance. With WHO’s recommendations and its own methods of tackling TB, the health ministry has also launched an oral drug regiment for TB patients. Under Nikshya Poshan Yojana it provides direct benefit transfers to TB patients for nutritional support. The private sector registered 40% more cases than last year marking significant strides in public-private engagement in tackling TB. India still has a long way to go, though, before it becomes a TB-free country.

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