Health & Diet

World Tuberculosis Day 2018: India Vows To End TB By 2025

| March 24 , 2018 , 14:36 IST

World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is celebrated on March 24 around the world. The day is observed to raise public awareness about the social and economic consequences of Tuberculosis and to make efforts to end the global TB epidemic. The day is celebrated since 1822 when Dr Robert Koch announced her discovery of the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the doors towards curing and diagnosing the disease.

World Health Organization (WHO) set the theme of World TB DAY 2018 as “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world” which focuses on building ways to end TB. Not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but at all levels from Mayors, Governors, and community leaders to the health workers, TB patients, doctors or nurses, health workers, NGOs and other partners.

TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, despite significant progress over the last decades, claiming over 4700 lives a day. A major security threat is posed by the emergence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) which could risk gains made in the fight against TB. WHO reported last year, that there were 1.7 million deaths in 2016 due to Tuberculosis and over 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, which makes TB the top infectious killer worldwide.

Anyone can get affected with TB but the disease thrives among marginalized groups or communities, people living in poverty and other vulnerable populations. Malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation, tobacco and alcohol use and diabetes, affect vulnerability to TB and access to care.The transmission of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) adds great urgency to these concerns.

WHO says that "When it comes to the biggest worldwide killer that kills through a single infectious agent, Tuberculosis (TB) comes second only to HIV/AIDS. TB is one of the top 10 causes of health-related deaths worldwide. India is the leading country which has the most cases of Tuberculosis followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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India is the global TB epicentre - the country records 2.8 million new tuberculosis cases annually, of which more than 100,000 are multi-drug resistant (MDR) and 4.2 lakh Indians die because of TB according to the World Health Organization. 

Despite the gravity of the situation is such, there's still much hearsay about TB in India and it gets hard to separate truth from fiction. Still, people believe that TB belongs to poor people but it is only a lungs' disease or it is incurable.

Speaking at the End TB Summit, PM Narendra Modi said the Government was working in a mission mode to make India TB-free. He said that while the world has set a target of 2030 for TB elimination, India wants to become TB-free by 2025.

The global response to tuberculosis has saved millions of lives; TB treatment saved 53 million lives between 2000 and 2016. Yet each year millions still suffer, and often die, from this preventable, treatable and curable disease.

TB is no longer an unavoidable fact of life, but a result of health and human rights conditions. Among them is lack of access to high-quality health services, including rapid diagnostic tools and effective medicines that do not cause severe side effects, sanitation, inadequate nutrition, and safe and healthy working environments.