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India reduced tuberculosis incidence by 16% since 2015: Health Minister

IANS Feb 09, 2024

India saw a 16 per cent reduction in the incidence of tuberculosis compared to 8.7 per cent globally, said Union Health Minister.

The number of missing TB cases in India also reduced from 1 million in 2015 to 0.26 million in 2023, said the Union Health Minister, while addressing the 37th STOP TB Partnership Board Meeting, held last week.

The Stop TB Partnership is hosted by UNOPS and is a collective force transforming the fight against TB. This comes as India is committed to ending TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030.

"TB has been a global health problem for decades now. After two challenging years dominated by disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, globally we saw a reduction in TB incidence by 8.7 per cent while in India we were able to demonstrate a reduction of 16 per cent, almost double the pace," the minister said in a statement released on 8 Feb.

"With less than 2 years left for India’s target of 2025, our approach going forward is focusing on prevention, while we saturate coverage of services in the detection and treatment of TB. With our continuous efforts, the number of missing TB cases in India has reduced from 1 million in 2015 to 0.26 million in 2023," he added.

Further, the Union Health Minister said that under the G20 Presidency, India diligently advocated and addressed selected concerns of global importance, which included improving the effectiveness and reach of health services using digital solutions; strengthening cooperation to enhance pharmaceutical development and manufacturing capabilities; and focusing on "One Health" and Anti-Microbial Resistance – all of these having strong resonance with India's and the world's fight against TB.

"With a focused and targeted engagement with the private sector through various interventions, there has been an increase in private sector notification by more than 8 times over the past 9 years," the minister said.

In 2023, 0.84 million patients were notified from the private sector which contributed to 33 per cent, the highest ever, of total notifications, he added, crediting India's success in encouraging people's participation in the End-TB movement.

"Our approach of Jan Bhagidhari which means people's participation has shown how the community can help join our fight against TB. The Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan, the world's largest crowd-sourcing initiative has been a huge success with over 1,50,000 Ni-kshay Mitra coming forward in a 'Whole of Society Approach' to adopt over 1 million TB patients to provide them nutritional and other support they need."

The Union Minister also highlighted the launch of the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, an outreach activity of the government where TB was among the most important health indicators with more than 38 million individuals screened for TB and over 1 million referrals for TB testing.

He noted other initiatives and achievements like the launch of the 'TB Mukt Panchayat' initiative, the securing of over 5 million courses of TB preventive treatment drug, 3HP; and the provision of TB services at the community level in over 1.6 lakh Ayushman Arogya Mandirs.

The minister urged the dignitaries to leverage their nations' collective knowledge and expertise in creating large-scale preventive interventions including addressing social determinants and called upon them to urgently come forward to launch TB vaccination to reach the sustainable development goals targets for TB.

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