A 19% increase was witnessed in 2021 from the previous year in TB patients’ notification. The number of incident TB patients (new and relapse) notified during 2021 was 19,33,381 against the 16,28,161 in 2020, noted India TB Report 2022 released on Thursday.
On the World Tuberculosis Day on Thursday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reaffirmed the government’s commitment to making India tuberculosis–free by 2025 and said this will be achieved by ensuring access to quality healthcare and advanced treatment.
“Tuberculosis is a preventable and treatable disease. On World TB Day, we reaffirm commitment to make India TB–free by 2025 by ensuring access to quality healthcare and advanced treatment. Together we can and we will eliminate TB,’’ he tweeted.
The report said despite the brief decline in TB notifications observed around the months corresponding to the two major COVID–19 waves, the National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) reclaimed these numbers.
It said 18 States have committed to ending TB by 2025 by formally implementing State–specific Strategic Plans and have gone a step ahead to devise a district–specific strategic plan, which shall serve as a guiding tool for the programme managers and staff at the district and sub-district level towards the elimination of Tuberculosis.
It said while the world was still reeling under the unsparing effects of the pandemic in 2020 ravaging lives, uprooting livelihoods, crippling national economies and debilitating health infrastructure, the pandemic continued wreaking its havoc in 2021.
“Admittedly, the fight against tuberculosis (TB) encountered setbacks in decades of gains. However, the pandemic also forged pathways to ingenious solutions, health–system strengthening and the ever–expanding reach of the public health programme delivery,” it said.
The government also released the National TB Prevalence Survey Report which was conducted from 2019 to 2021 to know the actual disease burden of TB at the national level.
Increase in mortality rate
The reports said there has been an increase in the mortality rate due to all forms of TB between 2019 and 2020 by 11%.
The survey report said prevalence of microbiologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) among 15 years and above in India was 316/lakh population with the highest PTB prevalence of 534/lakh in Delhi and the lowest PTB Prevalence of 115/lakh in Kerala.
Higher PTB Prevalence was observed in older age groups, males, malnourished, smokers, alcoholics and known diabetics. COVID has impacted the community level chest X–ray abnormality in general and would have impacted the TB prevalence.
“Prevalence of PTB infection among those surveyed in India was 21.7%. Also 63% of the chest symptomatic did not seek health care and the majority had ignored the symptoms and did not recognise it as illness. Among the 37% who consulted, they have equally approached the public (49%) and private sector (49%). A considerable amount of prevalent TB cases were contributed by patients with past history of TB,’’ noted the survey.
It recommended that based on the varying State TB prevalence, there is a need to prioritise the interventions in high prevalent States and plan for elimination in low prevalent States.
“More interventions for men like occupation screening for TB, nutritional interventions for malnourished, old age screening and interventions for promoting smoking and alcohol cessation needs to be scaled up for better control of PTB to address the factors which have more contribution towards the PTB burden,’’ said the report, adding that there is a need to scale–up treatment of the infection as per the new TB preventive therapy guidelines.