27% of world’s new Tuberculosis infections in India: WHO global report
New tuberculosis (TB) cases may be coming down, yet India accounted for 27% of the total new infections in 2017, which is the highest among the top 30 high TB burden countries in the world, says the WHO Global TB 2018 report.
Of the 10 million new cases reported in 2017, 2.74 million were from India, a marginal decrease from the 2.79 million that the country reported in WHO’s 2017 report.
Though the report underlined fears of under-reporting of cases in India, it also mentioned that India was an example of a country that took major steps in 2017-18 to expand TB-specific cash transfers and linkages to broader nutrition schemes to improve treatment outcome.
It said that for the past year, the Revised National TB Control Programme and National AIDS Control Organisation in India have been capturing data to evaluate TB case-finding activities among people attending anti-retroviral therapy centres for HIV treatment.
“Our TB notifications have gone up, especially since our recent orders that included jail term for doctors, chemists or laboratory owners who fail to notify cases. We are hoping it would go up further in the coming months and these patients will be put on treatment,” said Sanjeeva Kumar, additional secretary (health), Union health ministry.
In January-August 2018, as many as 3,32,149 patients have been notified to the government from the private sector as compared to the total number of patients (3,83,784) notified in 2017.
TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause from a single infectious agent. Millions of people continue to fall sick with TB each year.
Apart from India, seven other countries that alone accounted for two-thirds of the world’s new infections are China (9%), Indonesia (8%), The Philippines (6%), Pakistan (5%), Nigeria (4%), Bangladesh (4%) and South Africa (3%).
Drug-resistant TB continues to be a public health crisis worldwide and in India, with a quarter of the world’s multi drug resistant-tuberculosis (MDR-TB) being reported from India alone.
An estimated 558,000 people worldwide in 2017 were resistant to rifampicin, the most effective first-line TB drug, and of these, 82% had MDR-TB that is resistant to more than one drug.