The TB epidemic continues to rise in India, recent research suggests. According to the World Health Organization, the first statistics regarding any progress in India were not accurate but rather disappointing.
During a 2016 WHO conference, officials claimed that 49 million people were saved from tuberculosis since 2000, whereas many efforts still need to be done.
According to Mario Raviglione, MD, the expectations were much higher after the WHO 2014 conference compared with the current situation. Last year, the number of TB cases declined by 1.5 percent, so this year WHO officials expected a higher percentage.
Also, the WHO’s initiative called End TB Strategy set a goal of 4% to 5% annual decline rates until 2020. However, this year’s statistics revealed just a 1.5 percent decline, equal to last year’s decline.
Tuberculosis has taken the lives of 1.8 million people in India, meaning 5,000 deaths every day. These numbers are alarming, while TB remains in the top 10 death causes worldwide. Experts are puzzled by this situation because we live in the 21st century, a time when TB is no longer an incurable disease.
Raviglione further adds that too little importance is given to this situation. Worse, there are 10.4 million TB cases worldwide at the moment, with 60 percent of them accounted in six countries.
Around 2.8 million (25 percent) people in India suffer from TB, followed by South Africa, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, and Indonesia.
Although 6.1 million new cases have been officially recorded, 4.3 million have not been officially reported and diagnosed because most patients seek medical care from various private providers, who do not make official reports.
Therefore, Raviglione stresses that private doctors should report all TB cases. Children accounted for 10 percent of all cases, while women accounted for 34 percent. Furthermore, the other 56 percent of all cases were in men.
It is worth mentioning that 11 percent of the entire TB population were also tested HIV-positive. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is also a growing concern as 200,000 die every year due to this disease.
To tackle this situation, people need to have better access to appropriate treatment, diagnostic tools, and healthcare centers. Raviglione hopes that generous investments will help experts reach the target and deal with the TB epidemic once and for all.
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