Ever wondered when we celebrate “World Tuberculosis Day” and why? We celebrate World Tuberculosis Day on 24th March every year in order to spread awareness about Tuberculosis, its causes, effects and how to prevent it. In other words, World Tuberculosis Day is for educating the people about the devastating consequences of Tuberculosis and its economic, social, psychological and physical consequences. On this day in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacterium that causes Tuberculosis and that led to the diagnosis and cure of this disease.
Significant progress has occurred over the last decades however Tuberculosis is still the topmost infectious killer globally and claims over 4,500 lives per day!! Shocking, right? There is a multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) which poses a major threat to the health security! This might risk the profits made in the fight against TB.
So, what exactly is the theme of World Tuberculosis Day 2018?
“Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”. This theme focuses on building commitment to end this life-threatening disease on all levels from political levels to community leaders, doctors and nurses to Tuberculosis patients and their relatives, health workers and Non-governmental organization (NGO’s), civil society advocates to the common man and so on.
At the upcoming UN General Assembly high-level meeting on Tuberculosis this year, Heads of State will assemble in New York. Thus, this is a critical theme which holds political importance too. There was a successful Ministerial Conference in Moscow, Russia on ending Tuberculosis on 16th and 17th November 2017, that resulted in high-level commitments from leaders from 120 nations to accelerate progress to end Tuberculosis. World Tuberculosis Day gives the chance to shine the spotlight on Tuberculosis and mobilize commitment and hasten the progress to end Tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis is the topmost infectious killer worldwide and is rooted deeply wherever human rights and dignity are limited to the population. Tuberculosis thrives among poor people, marginalized population and groups and other vulnerable populations.
The Elimination of TB in India :
In March 2017 the Government of India (GOL) announced that the new aim with regard to TB in India was the elimination of TB by 2025.
“Ensuring affordable and quality healthcare to the population is a priority for the government and we are committed to achieving zero TB deaths and therefore we need to re-strategize, think afresh and have to be aggressive in our approach to ending TB by 2025” Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare1
Elimination as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), means that there should be less than 1 case of TB for a population of a million people. In view of the current TB burden in India, there is a great deal that needs to be done if elimination is to be achieved by 2025. The National Strategic Plan 2017 – 2025, sets out the government plans of how the elimination of TB can be achieved.
TB Burden in India :
India accounts for about a quarter of the global TB burden. Worldwide India is the country with the highest burden of both TB and MDR TB. 2 There are an estimated 79,000 multi-drug resistant TB patients among the notified cases of pulmonary TB each year. India is also the country with the second highest number (after South Africa) of estimated HIV associated TB cases. For more see TB & HIV in South Africa.
In 2016 an estimated 28 lakh cases occurred and 4.5 lakh people died due to TB. 3
India also has more than a million “missing” cases every year that are not notified and most remain either undiagnosed or unaccountably and inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector. There are some more TB statistics for India.
In 2016, and as a result of new information is available, the GoI together with the World Health Organization revised upwards the estimates for the burden of TB in India.
So let us join our hands and work towards the extinction of this disease!!