Along the line of the massive polio eradication campaign, the government is now planning to conduct an intensive door-to-door survey to zero in on TB cases that have gone unreported. As many as 11 lakh cases of TB have not been reported this year, said Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general of the Central TB Division, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
While the estimated number of TB cases is 28 lakh, only 17 lakh were reported this year under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). “We want to take up the active cases… and have mapped the high-risk population that we will reach out to. These include people living with HIV, slum dwellers, malnourished persons, miners, people living in tribal areas etc… we have mapped a high-risk population of roughly 12 crore people, and a door-to-door survey will begin by the end of the year,” said Khaparde. Gaps in testing for TB and reporting new cases remain a major challenge, said the senior officer.
“Despite measures to make TB a notifiable disease since 2012, an approximate 3 lakh cases were notified by private practitioners,” said Khaparde, who was in Pune to attend a meeting to chalk out a plan for getting government TB labs certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.
In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Khaparde said that the daily drug regimen — where a fixed drug combination is given daily to each TB patient — will be rolled out across Maharashtra, Bihar, Sikkim, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh by December. “We are waiting for the drugs to be supplied. Our training and other procedures are in place,” added Khaparde.
He pointed out that free drugs will be given to TB patients in the private sector. For people living with HIV and suffering from TB co-infection, the drug will be given at all anti-retroviral therapy centres, said Khaparde.
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide. Six countries — India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa — accounted for 60 per cent of the total number of cases. Of the 10.4 million new TB cases, India accounted for 2.8 million cases.
An estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015 worldwide and in India, 0.4 million succumbed to the disease.