Tuberculosis The Scourge Of India
Published on: 2018/05/29
Dr. Shalu Verma Kumar, Vice President, R&D, CORE Diagnostics, Gurgaon, India
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease variously named consumption, white plague, phthisis, or scrofula. It has been rampant in India, with the first cases being reported as early as 1500 BCE. As we celebrate the WHO World TB Day on 24 March 2018, we need an up-to-date assessment of our efforts to control TB.
Tuberculosis in India, Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis in India has reached epidemic proportions. The prevalence of TB in India can be understood by the sheer number of cases being reported annually. Currently, India is home to around 2.8 million patients, which makes it the country with the highest number of reported cases in the world. Every year 4.8 lakh people die of TB in India. India also has the highest number of HIV cases with TB.
Tuberculosis in 2018
India in the recent years, has taken steps to eliminate TB. The project is ambitious owing to the current state of TB in India. New plan and policies are being implemented in this direction as well. It has been made compulsory for new cases to be reported which led to a 37% increase in the reporting of new cases.
The Government of India has developed a National Strategic Plans for eliminating TB by 2025. This plan is extremely ambitious and surpasses the expectations set by the WHO. The Maharashtra government has taken steps in Mumbai to combat multidrug-resistant TB by providing MDR-TB diagnosis and treatments in both private and public sectors.
The involvement of the private sector has helped improve the quality of care and treatment received by patients. The government has been able to harness the benefits of e/m-health solutions for better services.
In order to ensure that TB is eliminated, there are several steps that have to be taken into account.
1. Any plan, policy or commitment made towards eliminating TB in India has to be backed by adequate resources to guarantee success. The government needs to increase the budget allocated towards the National TB strategic plan. Funding should be sourced both domestically and internationally. Eventually, India should aim a self-sufficiency in funding the plan.
2. Due to lack of tools, many patients either are unable to access treatments or are y not notified due to lack of means. New treatments, shorter MDR-TB regimens, and child-friendly doses of TB medication need to be provided to ensure care and acceptability by people.
3. Private sector has to be more engaged as patients usually approach private hospitals/clinics first. There are chances of some private sectors being of substandard quality, thereby affecting the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
There are major gaps when it comes to receiving proper treatment. Most of the patients either do not avail of public health facilities or are not diagnosed. To deal with this problem, the government has to modernize the standard of care and treatments across the country.
As India aims and moves towards eliminating TB by 2025, the government has to do its best to keep the support going through adequate funding and support.