The Eradication of TB in India
An air-borne infectious disease, which commonly affects the lungs and other parts of the body. Tuberculosis (TB) can be cured with proper treatment.
Tuberculosis is one of India’s major public health problems. According to WHO, India has the world’s largest tuberculosis epidemic.
In 1880s it was widely believed that TB was an inherited disease. However, a scientist Robert Koch was convinced that the disease was caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and was infectious. In 1882, he published his findings on tuberculosis and later attempted at developing a drug to treat this disease, thereby finding the drug tuberculin which today is used for tb diagnosis. In 1905 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work with Tuberculosis.
History of Tb in India:
Tuberculosis in India was first recognised through a resolution passed in the All India Sanitary Conference, held at Madras in 1912. The first open air institution for isolation and treatment of TB patients was started in 1906 in the Himalayas in 1908. The anti-TB movement in the country gained momentum with the TB Association of India was established in 1939. According to the history of Tb in India approximately 220,00 deaths are reported due to TB. India accounts for one fourth of the global TB burden. In 2016, an estimated 28 lakh cases occurred and 4.8 lakh people died due to TB.
India bears a disproportionately large burden of the world’s tuberculosis rates. And it continues to be the biggest health problem in India.
To rewrite the history of TB in India, in March 2017, the GOI announced that the new aim with regards to TB in India was the elimination of TB by 2025 with funding of over Rs12,000 crores to ensure every TB patient has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support. Elimination means that there should be less than 1 case of TB for a population of a million people. A lot needs to be done to achieve the same. The National Strategic Plan 2017-2025, sets out the government plans of how the elimination of TB can be achieved. The new NSP adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients with an emphasis on reaching TB patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed TB in high-risk populations, treat all patients irrespective of where they seek care adopting a patient-centric approach, prevent emergence of TB in susceptible population groups and build empowered institutions and human resources to streamline implementation. There is hope that the history of TB in India, is history for once and for all, and this disease is completely eradicated.