INDIA – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, India has been able to increase access to free rapid molecular diagnostics and tuberculosis treatment, while financial and nutritional support to affected patients has continued unabated, according to Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar.

The National Tuberculosis Elimination Program’s (NTEP) efforts resulted in significant improvements in time-to-diagnosis, treatment adherence, and outcomes, Pawar said as she presided over a brainstorming session on “Strategies for Ending TB by 2025.”

We have a mere 37 months before the deadline to end TB in the country,” Pawar said, reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to eliminate TB in India by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 2030.

Because early detection and treatment are critical to TB elimination, the NTEP is working to accelerate universal TB care coverage and preventive services in the country.

Tuberculosis is still a major public health issue around the world TB is the world’s 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer, trailing only COVID-19.

The WHO TB report, which covered the response to the epidemic in 197 countries and areas, discovered that 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020 – more than in 2019.

India’s proactive efforts in fight against TB was reflected positively in the latest WHO TB report. India experiencing the greatest decrease in TB notifications between 2019 and 2020 (down 41%), followed by Indonesia (14%), the Philippines (12%), and China (8 per cent).

The UN agency stated that this included 214,000 HIV patients, and that the overall TB increase was primarily in 30 countries, including Angola, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Zambia.

Because of the new coronavirus pandemic, “challenges” that made providing and accessing essential TB services impossible left many people undiagnosed in 2020.

Globally, an estimated 10 million people became ill with tuberculosis (TB) in 2020. There are 5.6 million men, 3.3 million women, and 1.1 million children affected by TB globally.

Child and adolescent tuberculosis (TB) is frequently overlooked by healthcare providers and can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

TB’s most vulnerable groups

Tuberculosis affects people of all ages and from all countries. However, tuberculosis is both curable and preventable.

However, tuberculosis primarily affects adults in their prime working years. All age groups, however, are at risk. Over 95% of cases and deaths occur in developing countries.

HIV-infected people are 18 times more likely to develop active TB. Active tuberculosis is also more likely in people who have other conditions that weaken the immune system.

People who are malnourished are three times more vulnerable. In 2020, there were 1.9 million new TB cases worldwide that were caused by malnutrition.

Alcoholism and tobacco smoking both increase the risk of tuberculosis by a factor of 3.3 and 1.6, respectively. In 2020, alcohol use disorder was responsible for 0.74 million new TB cases worldwide, while smoking was responsible for 0.73 million, according to WHO data.

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