World TB Day: The growing epidemic in India

On World Tuberculosis Day, India fights back the disease with commitment. According to the reports published by Central TB department of the Government of India in 2014, the incidence rate of TB in India was 2.1 million as compared to the total rate of 9 million that accounts for the world. This implies that in spite of repetitive campaigns, TB is still a major area of concern for the nation, with every third person falling prey to the disease.

In the last one year, Central TB Department has undertaken several measures to curb the rising figures of the lung disease. According to the latest report in CTD for 2016, several measures were undertaken to the control the growing rate of the disease. In April, The World Health Organization (WHO), the 4 TB INDIA 2016 Government of India (GoI) and other technical and donor partners conducted the Joint Monitoring Mission (JMM) to review India’s Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP). Later during the month, The Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the ‘Call to Action for TB Free India’ on 23rd April, 2015. This programme was created to enhance the TB preventive measures. Following which, the entire year, there were workshops and training organized to update the campaign and make it a success. Although TB has seen a reduction in rate by 55% from 1994, yet the incidence of TB in India is really rising. In 2015, the incidence rate rose to 2.2 million as compared to the rate of incidence around the globe which was recorded at 9.6 million. That means India accounts for 23% of the total cases worldwide followed by Indonesia and China at 10% each. In spite of having the budget, India is still under the grip of the disease.The government issued a budget of Rs 640 crores as compared to the amount of Rs 1400 crores that was initially asked to carry out the extensive campaigns. Till December 2015, the government spent approximately Rs 511 crores. Some amount of it was paid to Amitabh Bachchan to be the official brand ambassador of the campaign. Yet the figures are high. In India, Daman and Diu have recorded the maximum number of cases, crossing 45.95 that were registered by the private sector per 1000 population, followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat which was recorded at 44.26 and 42.21 per 1000 population. A lot of cases have been reported from Andaman and Nicobar Island as well. However, the spread of TB is lesser in urban areas as compared to  rural areas. India needs to brace up its measures to ensure that there are ample steps taken to curb the disease. What was once considered to be fatal, thanks to the medical advancement, has a cure now, yet India is captive to TB. In spite of the campaigns and workshops, there has been very less significant change in the overall number of cases. The figures released via Central TB departments are alarming and need to be addressed immediately. Only then, India can achieve its dream of being free from TB.

News 24 Bureau