According to the India TB Report 2019, 21.5 lakh tuberculosis (TB) cases in India were registered with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in 2018—a 16% increase from 2017.
- The rise is quite worrying—India already has the world’s largest TB burden—but, the data is a double whammy. The private sector, too, registered a 40% increase in cases reported from last year.
- India has the third-highest HIV burden in the world (0.22% adult prevalence), and ranks second for HIV-associated TB (9% of cases worldwide). TB is the leading cause of deaths for PLHA; in India, nearly 50,000 of the 21.5 lakh PLHA—43,253 in 2017—had TB-HIV co-infection.
- One reason for this rise is the increase in number of HIV-infected individuals who developed TB. Persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) are 21 times more likely to develop TB than others.
- Around 25% of deaths of PLHA have been attributed to TB. Given the co-infection, morbidity, and mortality of PLHA-TB, there is a need to tailor healthcare programmes for PLHA, and ensure better delivery.
- The Union health ministry, taking heed of this co-infection, has launched the ‘TB Harega, Desh Jeetega’ campaign, the National TB Prevalence Survey, and an oral drug regimen for TB patients.
- Also, under the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, it provides direct benefit transfers to TB patients for nutritional support.
However, many TB patients—around eight lakh—going unregistered is a big hurdle; the problem worsens when a patient is also HIV-infected.
Way forward –
The government must, therefore, step up efforts to get all TB cases registered with the RNTCP.
Source – Financial Express
Also read: 2nd October – Urban Cooperative Banks
QUESTION – India’s fight against tuberculosis is incomplete without an equal focus on HIV. Comment.