A World Health Organization (WHO) report has recently revealed that the tuberculosis epidemic in India was larger than what was previously estimated.
The WHO’s global TB report for 2016 stated that there were 28 lakh TB cases reported in India last year and 29 lakh in 2014, against the 22 lakh that was earlier estimated for 2014.
According to an estimate, the report mentioned, 4.78 lakh people died of TB (excluding HIV-positive people) in 2015, and 4.83 lakh died in 2014.
Six countries -- India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa -- accounted for 60 per cent of new cases, the report said.
TB cases in India are hugely under-reported, the report added.
“The TB epidemic is larger than previously estimated, reflecting new surveillance and survey data from India.... Six countries accounted for 60 per cent of the new cases -- India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa,” the report noted.
The statistics provided in the report said that only 56 per cent cases were officially reported across the country in 2014, and 59 per cent cases in 2015.
Meanwhile, the government has said that a nationwide survey will be conducted to determine the number of patients suffering from tuberculosis next year after a gap of nearly six decades. A senior official of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said such a survey was last conducted in 1956.
Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda said, “New cases of TB as well deaths due to the disease have reduced. However, the number of cases notified have increased. All these cases were so far going undetected and were not being reported. After our Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), which brought private hospitals under its ambit, the notification has increased.”
The Ministry official said, “Until the implementation of RNTCP, while 60 per cent of the patients were going to private hospitals, only 15 per cent were being notified. The increase in the number of cases is because of good, robust data. Now these cases are being detected, notified and addressed.”
According to the WHO report, in 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million (over 1crore) new TB cases worldwide, of which 5.9 million (nearly 60 lakh, 56 per cent) were among men, 3.5 million (35 lakh, 34 per cent) among women and 1.0 million (10 lakh, 10 per cent) among children, while people living with HIV accounted for 1.2 million (12 lakh, 11 per cent) of all new TB cases.