Health authorities worldwide need to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat tuberculosis if they are to reduce TB infections and deaths by 2030, the World Health Organisation warned Thursday. It called for a massive scale-up in efforts to meet global targets which stand at 90 per cent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 per cent reduction in TB cases by 2030 as compared to 2015.
According to new data published in WHO’s 2016 Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report, in 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide. Six countries accounted for 60 per cent of the total burden, with India accounting for the highest number of cases followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
A total of 17,40,435 TB cases were notified in India in 2015, of which 79,000 were cases of either multi-drug resistance or relapse. “We face an uphill battle to reach the global targets for tuberculosis. There must be a massive scale-up of efforts, or countries will continue to run behind this deadly epidemic and these ambitious goals will be missed,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO’s Director General.
An estimated 1.8 million people died of TB in 2015, of whom 0.4 million were co-infected with HIV. Although global TB deaths fell by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2015, the disease was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015, responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria.
In 2015, 22 per cent of HIV-positive TB patients were not enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART). As per WHO recommendations, ART needs to be made available for all HIV-positive TB patients. Nearly a million children under five, and people living with HIV, who are especially vulnerable to TB and who were eligible for preventive treatment, were able to access it in 2015.