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2.8 million TB cases in India, but WHO notes higher funding

At 27.9 lakh, India’s TB incidence in 2016 was down marginally from the previous year’s 28.4 lakh. The number of TB-related deaths was 4.35 lakh. down 15% from 5.17 lakh.

Written by Abantika Ghosh , Anuradha Mascarenhas | New Delhi |
Updated: October 31, 2017 7:50:33 am
tuberculosis, TB cases in India, tuberculosis cases, WHO world health organization, TB cases, tuberculosis treatment, india news, latest news, indian express, health news India accounted for 33% of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people, and for 26% of the combined total of TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people.

Following a 2012 decision to mandatorily notify TB cases, India has registered a 37% jump in cases between 2013-16, shows a new global TB report released by WHO, which also takes note of the Indian government’s moves towards increased funding for TB elimination.

At 27.9 lakh, India’s TB incidence in 2016 was down marginally from the previous year’s 28.4 lakh. The number of TB-related deaths was 4.35 lakh. down 15% from 5.17 lakh.

India, however, accounted for 33% of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people, and for 26% of the combined total of TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people. “An estimated 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2016… 56% were in five countries: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Pakistan,” the report states. China, India and Indonesia alone accounted for 45% of global cases in 2016.

The report noted that TB is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS. “In 2016, there were an estimated 1.3 million TB deaths among HIV-negative people (down from 1.7 million in 2000) and an additional 374,000 deaths among HIV-positive people,” it states.

On the other hand, the TB mortality rate is falling at about 3% per year worldwide and TB incidence at about 2% per year; 16% of TB cases die from the disease. Most deaths from TB could be prevented with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

“India is still doing poorly in TB control. At this rate, unless there is serious investment by the Indian government, we will not eliminate TB by 2025,” said Prof Madhukar Pai, director, McGill Global Health Programs; and Associate Director, McGill International TB Centre.

Government health authorities, however, stressed that the findings were consistent with efforts to detect more TB cases. Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general, Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, told The Indian Express: “We have started intervention and early detection programmes due to which the MDR-TB cases have shown a decline from 1.2 lakh cases in 2015. The number of deaths has also come down,” Dr Khaparde said.

About India’s increased funding, the reports states: “India stood out as a country in which the budget envelope for TB was substantially increased in 2017 (to $525 million, almost double the level of 2016), following political commitment from the Prime Minister to the goal of ending TB by 2025. The budget is fully funded, including $387 million (74%) from domestic sources (triple the amount of $124 million in 2016) and the remainder (26%) from international donor sources,” says the report.

Last February, the government released the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Elimination 2017-2025 that, while describing TB as India’s “severest health crisis, emphasised the government’s commitment to end TB in the country by 2030, five years ahead of the global target of elimination by 2035”.

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