Tuberculosis: Current Situation, Challenges and Overview

The incidence of tuberculosis is relatively high worldwide and approximately 26% of the cases recorded come from India. Both cases of HIV-TB and multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis fall under this category. One-third of the world’s population has TB infection, however, that does not mean they have the disease. In India, more than 40% of people have TB bacteria in their bodies, while they might not have the disease. There is barely a 10% possibility that someone infected with TB bacteria may acquire TB disease. One of the most likely causes of TB infection developing into TB disease is insufficient immunity. The risk of contracting the disease is higherin people with HIV, stress, diabetes, damaged lungs, alcoholism, and smoking, as well as those with poor health or low immunity.

The overall number of Tb cases (new and relapse) in India in 2021 was 19,33,381, increasing 19% from the year before, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The Union government has set the target to strategically eliminate the TB burden in the nation by 2025, five years before the Sustainable Development  Goals, the National Tuberculosis Elimination Plan (NTEP), formerly known as the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), seeks to strategically eliminate India’s TB burden.

Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) is caused by TB germs that are of minimum resistance to the two most effective TB medications, isoniazid, and rifampin. Poor management of TB treatment and person-to-person transmission are the main contributors to the emergence and development of multidrug resistance. A carefully formed, 6-month treatment program that is given to patients with guidance and support can cure the majority of TB patients but drug resistance can be brought on by the improper or unnecessary use of antibiotics, as well as the use of inadequate therapeutic drugs, low-quality medications, poor storage conditions, and mid-treatment termination. The multi-drug resistant tb can also spread, particularly in crowded places. The usual treatment strategy for MDR TB in India consists of a 6-drug routine, with an intensive phase lasting 6–9 months and a continuation phase lasting 18–24 months. Although TB is typically treatable, it can be fatal if not managed correctly. The government has taken responsibility for each and every reported case of diagnosed tuberculosis regarding their treatment, nutrition and well-being including those admitted in the private sector where the expensive multi drug resistant TB medications are provided free of cost.

This year the theme for TB day is – ‘Yes. We can end TB’which intends to inspire hope for high level leadership in all the clinicians and strategists for more innovations and collaborative efforts to end the TB epidemic.

Dr. SivaresmiUnnithan, Consultant, Pulmonology,Fortis Anandapur, Kolkata

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