Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the country is on track to meeting the deadline of 2025 for eliminating TB …Read More
NEW DELHI: India recorded 24 lakh tuberculosis cases and over 79,000 deaths due to the disease in 2019. The numbers, while considerably lower than World Health Organisation estimates, translate into roughly 20,000 deaths every quarter. In comparison, Covid has killed around 15,000 people in India over the last three and a half months.
The 24 lakh cases represent an 11% rise over the previous year and bring the official number closer to WHO’s estimate of 26.9 lakh cases. This gap between officially recorded and estimated cases, often referred to as the “missing millions”, narrowed from over 10 lakh in 2017 to 2.9 lakh in 2019, shows the annual TB report released on Wednesday by the health ministry.
The report shows 79,144 deaths due to tuberculosis were reported in 2019, which is much lower than the WHO estimate of 4.4 lakh fatalities.
Private sector notifications saw an increase of over 35%, compared to 2018. Around 6.8 lakh patients were notified from the private sector, accounting for roughly 28% of total case notifications in 2019.
“The mandatory notification policy, launch of private provider support agency (PPSA) programmes, and incentives to private providers have been major contributing factors to the increase,” the report said.
Expansion of TB treatment services has resulted in improvement in the treatment success rate with 81% of notified patients getting treated in 2019 as compared to 69% in 2018.
The report highlighted that the provision of HIV testing for all notified TB patients increased from 67% in 2018 to 81% in 2019.
Over half of the total notifications were from five states — Uttar Pradesh (20%), Maharashtra (9%), Madhya Pradesh (8%), Rajasthan (7%) and Bihar (7%).
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the country is on track to meeting the deadline of 2025 for eliminating TB.
“The government is committed to achieving the SDG goal of eliminating TB in the country by 2025, five years ahead of the global target. To align with the ambitious goal, the programme has been renamed from Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) to National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP),” Vardhan said during the release of the report.
Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh were the three best-performing states for tuberculosis control among states with 50 lakh or more population in the state TB Index.
Tripura and Nagaland were best-performing in the category of states having less than 50 lakh population. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu were the best performing Union Territories.
About the stigma attached to TB patients in the country, which is hampering the fight against the disease, Vardhan said, “We as a nation, need to come together to fight tuberculosis and the stigma surrounding it so that every TB patient can seek care with dignity and without discrimination. The community must act as a wellspring of support and comfort for a patient.” He underscored the crucial contribution the private sector can make to the national TB programme by mandatory tuberculosis notification and providing quality care.