India Witnessed Maximum Number Of TB Deaths In 2016

According to the report in India an estimated 27.9 lakh patients were suffering from TB in 2016 and up to 4.23 lakh patients were estimated to have died during the year

According to the global TB report 2017 released by World Health Organisation, WHO on Monday, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide in 2016, 10 per cent of which were people living with HIV/AIDS.

Last February, the government released the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Elimination 2017-2025 that, while describing TB as India's "severest health crisis, emphasised the government's commitment to end TB in the country by 2030, five years ahead of the global target of elimination by 2035".

India tops the list of countries with highest number of patients infected by Tuberculosis with an estimated 27.9 lakh patients reeling under TB in 2016 and upto 4.23 lakh patients have been estimated to have died. In addition, TB remains the #1 infectious killer, worldwide, surpassing HIV / AIDS. Five countries represented 56% of the cases: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, and Pakistan. The WHO estimates that there were 600,000 new cases of resistance to Rifampicin-the most effective first-line drug-of which, 4,90,000 had MDR-TB. The number of TB-related deaths was 4.35 lakh. down 15% from 5.17 lakh. "These will build momentum, get different sectors engaged, and accelerate our efforts to make TB history". Forty-seven percent of the MDR-TB cases were seen in India, China, and the Russian Federation. Since 2000, a 37% decrease in the number of TB deaths has been witnessed globally. The infection burden in China is one third of India at 8.95 lakh even as it is more populous than India.

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At a time when the world has dedicated itself to end TB by 2030, it is quite disheartening to find out that almost 9,00,000 of those diagnosed with TB in India are not being provided the required treatment, especially when the country intends to eliminate the infection by 2025. Not only does India have the highest number of TB cases in the world, but it also infamously figures in top three countries of these ten countries, wherein the gap between estimated TB incidence and reported cases is the highest - India (25%), Indonesia (16%) and Nigeria (8%). However, most people eligible for TB preventive treatment are not accessing it. Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general, Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, told The Indian Express: "We have started intervention and early detection programmes due to which the MDR-TB cases have shown a decline from 1.2 lakh cases in 2015".

About India's increased funding, the reports states: "India stood out as a country in which the budget envelope for TB was substantially increased in 2017 (to $525 million, nearly double the level of 2016), following political commitment from the Prime Minister to the goal of ending TB by 2025". And, although WHO cites that research for "new diagnostics, drugs, treatment regimens and vaccines are progressing", the organization feels that, "increased investment in research and development is needed for there to be any chance of achieving the technological breakthroughs needed by 2025". Progress in most countries is stalling and is not fast enough to reach global targets or close persistent gaps in TB care and prevention.

"We have a double challenge. More domestic funding is needed in middle-income countries, and more global donor support is needed to support low-income countries", Floyd said.

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