India has shown significant progress in its battle against tuberculosis (TB) even though it accounted for more than a quarter of the global burden of tuberculosis in 2018, according to Global TB report for 2019.
The total TB incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year. In 2017, India had 27.4 lakh TB patients, which came down to 26.9 lakh in 2018, but of these, only about 21.5 lakh were reported, the report stated.
Incidence per 1 lakh population decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018. The number of patients being diagnosed for resistance to rifampicin (one of the frontline TB drugs) increased from 32 per cent in 2017 to 46 per cent in 2018 due to mandatory testing for resistance, according to the report.
The number of drug-resistant cases detected increased from 38,000 in 2017 to 58,000 in 2018. This is good because these cases would normally go undetected and continue to spread drug-resistant TB.
Treatment success rate increased to 81 per cent for new and relapse cases (drug-sensitive) in 2017, which was 69 per cent in 2016, it reported. Children below 14 years comprised 6 per cent of patients and women were 34 per cent.
Yet, 26.9 per cent of the global TB burden of 10 million in 2018 was from India, according to the report. In 2017, the figure was 27 per cent. The report says 66 per cent of that burden came from eight countries: India (27%), China (9%), Indonesia (8%), the Philippines (6%), Pakistan (6%), Nigeria (4%), Bangladesh (4%), and South Africa (3%).
India has resolved to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030. But experts say the annual rate of TB reduction, at 2 per cent, is far lower than what is required to meet the target.