21.4 lakh TB cases notified in India in 2021, 18% higher than 2020: Health Ministry

In September, the first-of-its-kind initiative, Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan was launched to provide additional nutritional support to TB patients

October 28, 2022 10:56 pm | Updated 10:56 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo of a doctor examining a tuberculosis patient at a TB hospital in Guwahati

File photo of a doctor examining a tuberculosis patient at a TB hospital in Guwahati | Photo Credit: AP

India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (incidence was 256 per lakh population in India) and there has been an 18% decline which is 7 percentage points better than the global average of 11%, said the Health Ministry on Friday, while reacting to the World Health Organizataion (WHO) Global TB Report 2022, released on October 27.

Stating that India had done better in major metrics as compared to other countries over time the Ministry said that the figures placed India at the 36th position in terms of incidence rates (from the largest to the smallest incidence numbers).

The WHO released the Global TB Report 2022 which took into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis, treatment and burden of disease for TB all over the world.

According to the WHO report an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, an increase of 4.5% from 2020, and 1.6 million people died from TB (including 187 000 among HIV positive people). The organisation’s 2022 Global TB report added that the burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) also increased by 3% between 2020 and 2021, with 450 000 new cases of rifampicin-resistant TB (RR-TB) in 2021.

``This is the first time in many years an increase has been reported in the number of people falling ill with TB and drug resistant TB. TB services are among many others disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, but its impact on the TB response has been particularly severe. Ongoing conflicts across Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have further exacerbated the situation for vulnerable populations,’’ noted the report.

 ``While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TB Programmes across the world, India was able to successfully offset the disruptions caused, through the introduction of critical interventions in 2020 and 2021 – this led to the National TB Elimination Programme notifying over 21.4 lakh TB cases – 18% higher than 2020,’’ said the Ministry.

It attributed this to measures including mandatory notification policy to ensure all cases were reported to the government etc. In 2021, over 22 crore people were screened for TB as per official data.

The WHO report also noted the crucial role of nutrition and under-nutrition as a contributory factor to the development of active TB disease.

In this respect, the TB Programme’s nutrition support scheme – Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana – has proved critical for the vulnerable. During 2020 and 2021, India made cash transfers of 89 million dollars (INR 670 crore) to TB patients through a Direct Benefit Transfer programme, said the Ministry.

Also in September this year the first-of-its-kind initiative, Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan was launched in India to provide additional nutritional support to those on TB treatment, through contributions from community including individuals and organisations. Till date, 40,492 donors have come forward to support over 10,45,269 patients across the Country, said the Ministry in its release.

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