The world can eradicate tuberculosis by 2045 if the fight against the killer disease is properly funded, an international team of experts said Wednesday.

Every year, World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March, and it raises awareness about the management and treatment of the disease.  As per the recent data shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), fewer cases of Tuberculosis (TB) were notified in 2020. 

  • The novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) pandemic and led to half a million deaths globally. 
  • A 21% decrease was reported in Tuberculosis notification owing to lockdowns and other disruptions caused by the pandemic.
  • 4.9 million TB infections were notified, as 6.3 million TB infections were notified.
  • Data reflects that 1.4 million people did not receive treatment for Tuberculosis in 2020.
  • The United Nations health agency, WHO, warned that this could set the world back a decade to the TB mortality level of 2010.
What is Tuberculosis (TB)?

What is Tuberculosis (TB)?

  • Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • The bacteria usually spread to people when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Timely diagnosis and medical attention for the treatment of Tuberculosis.
  • Although TB infection affects the lungs, it gradually impacts other organs of the body- lymph glands, kidneys, brain, bowels, or bones.

Symptoms of Tuberculosis

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Constant cough with thick mucus 
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever 

Note: The symptoms may appear mild for a few months and then can drastically increase. Thus, a delay in treatment can increase the risk of spreading the infection. It is advisable to immediately opt for tests after noticing the symptoms.

Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis

  • A sample of mucus is tested for sputum testing. Rapid molecular tests are carried out if the signs persist.
  • Sometimes, an X-ray, blood test, or even sputum smear microscopy is carried out.

Important Highlights 

  • of India TB Report 2020 presented the data for the year 2019, saying that 79 144 deaths occurred due to TB.
  • The Global TB Report 2020 highlighted an incident rate of 193 per 1 lakh population reported in India, with a total number of cases estimated at 26,40,000.
  • These numbers are potentially high, and it is essential to catch the disease at an early stage and treat it accordingly.
Eradicate Tuberculosis is treatable and curable: with the right will it can be eradicated

Tuberculosis (TB) Treatment

  • TB is curable if treated with the drug combination for a minimum of six months.
  • A complete course is advisable to prevent the worsening of the disease.
  • Failing to seek appropriate treatment or even do not follow the instructions given, then TB bacteria gets stronger, and symptoms may reappear, and this can be known as drug-resistant TB.
  • Drug-resistant TB can be serious, especially when it takes a longer time, and sometimes second-line drugs are given to the patient. 

Steps taken to Eradicate Tuberculosis

  • Definitive steps were taken by the Union Govt to eliminate Tuberculosis from the country.
  • The sustained efforts of the National Tuberculosis Elimination program have led to an unprecedented increase in 
  • – TB notifications
  • – Significant improvements in timely diagnosis
  • – Adherence and treatment outcomes 
Eradicate Tuberculosis
  • Free treatment to patients is available from both the public and private sectors.
  • India’s diagnostic capabilities for TB have significantly ramped up 
  • At present, at least one rapid molecular diagnostic facility in each district is available, and it is aimed to decentralize it further to the block level.

Way Forward

  • Though some setbacks are seen in TB case rise, the TB notifications are encouraging, as the cure is possible only when it is diagnosed early. During the lockdown, indigenously developed, cost-effective point-of-care molecular diagnostic machines called TrueNAT were deployed to test TB across the country. 
  • With the availability of quality drugs, digital technology, engagement of the private sector, and communities integrating TB services across all levels within the health system are aligned rapidly decline TB incidence and mortality in the country, the TB eradication although challenging but possible by 2025. 

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