An estimated 1.3 million people died from TB in 2008. The highest number of deaths was in the South-East Asia Region
- Someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacilli every second.
- Overall, one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with the TB bacillus
- The largest number of new TB cases in 2008 occurred in the South-East Asia Region, which accounted for 34% of incident cases globally
- Funding for TB control has increased since 2002, and is expected to reach US$ 4.1 billion in 2010. Funding gaps remain, however; compared with the Global Plan, funding gaps amount to at least US$ 2.1 billion in 2010.
Source: World Health Organization (WHO) http://www.whoindia.org/en/section3/section123.htm
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health problem in India. India accounts for one-fifth of the global TB incident cases. Each year nearly 2 million people in India develop TB, of which around 0.87 million are infectious cases. It is estimated that annually around 330,000 Indians die due to TB.
Since 1993, the Government of India (GoI) has been implementing the WHO-recommended Directly Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) via the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP). The program to date has treated about 10 million TB patients, with over 1.5 million registered for treatment in 2008.The program has achieved a treatment success rate of over 86% in new smear positive cases and the case detection in 2008 was 72%. The program has also developed partnerships with a wide range of stake holders. To date more than 2500 NGOs, over 19,000 private practitioners, 267 Medical Colleges and over 150 corporate sector health facilities are involved in the program. Public-private mix (PPM) DOTS has a significant role in achieving the national objectives of case detection and treatment outcomes.
While these are impressive figures, a large section of population continues to suffer from TB, especially the tribal groups often living in terrains that the health system fails to reach. These areas remain largely subserviced with TB resulting in preventable deaths. Unless outreach services to these areas improves, these groups will continue to remain excluded from the success story of RNTCP. Can we afford that?
How can the outreach of the TB program be improved?