World TB Day: Tuberculosis one of the biggest health challenges in India

World TB Day

On World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have urged stakeholders to join hands to eliminate this disease from India by 2025. TB, caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, claiming over 4 500 lives a day.

TB has been leading infectious killer in India. According to a WHO report, 4, 23,000 TB patients died in 2016.

The official twitter handle of President Ram Nath Kovind quoted him as saying,”On World Tuberculosis Day, I call upon all stakeholders to come together to fight tuberculosis. TB continues to be one of the biggest public health challenges in our country. The time has come for all of us to join hands to eliminate TB from India by 2025.”

“In the spirit of this year’s World TB Day theme of ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world’, I urge citizens and organisations to take the lead in the movement to end TB. A TB-free world is a wonderful service to humanity,” the Prime Minister stated in a tweet.

“Government of India is working in mission mode to make India TB-free. While the world has set a target of 2030 for TB elimination, we in India want to become TB-free by 2025,” he further said.

Earlier on the eve of World TB Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had urged the countries to harness the power of technology for early diagnosis of this disease. WHO regional director for South-east Asia, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh asked the countries to ensure all persons that have had contact with a TB patient are traced and also screened for the disease.

“Greater attention should be given to managing latent TB lest it becomes active, especially for persons living with HIV. Investing in research aimed at developing tools to prevent TB transmission (and that can be applied to large populations) should likewise be prioritised,” Singh said.

She also praised the member countries for increasing their domestic funding for TB programmes.

“All member countries have accelerated active case-finding. Patient-centered policies have been developed and implemented, including direct cash transfers and nutritional support for persons suffering TB and plans have been developed to engage civil society organisations,” she said.

 World TB Day

Every year World TB Day is observed on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

What causes TB?

Life-threatening disease Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). TB bacterium is spread through the air i.e when people infected with TB, cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air which ultimately infects other people in the surrounding areas.

The symptoms of TB include cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

TB-A killer disease

TB occurs in every part of the world. Over 95 per cent of cases and deaths are recorded from developing countries. In 2016, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in Asia, with 45% of new cases, followed by Africa, with 25% of new cases.

In 2016, 87% of new TB cases occurred in the 30 high TB burden countries. Seven countries accounted for 64% of the new TB cases: India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa. Global progress depends on advances in TB prevention and care in these countries.