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The estimated incidence of TB in India in 2019 was 2.69 million. (HT)
The estimated incidence of TB in India in 2019 was 2.69 million. (HT)

Health ministry reports 14% growth in tuberculosis burden in 2019

According to the report, private sector enabled India to close gap in ‘missing cases’ from over 1 mn to about 300,000

NEW DELHI : With more than 2.4 million notified cases in 2019, India’s tuberculosis (TB) burden increased 14% from the previous year, the annual TB report released on Wednesday by the Union health ministry said.

Cases notified by the private sector increased by 35% to 678,000 patients, helping India narrow the gap of ‘missing cases’ from more than 1 million in 2018 to around 300,000 in 2019, it added.

The estimated incidence of TB in India for 2019 was 2.69 million. Out of the 2.4 million notified cases, 94.4% received treatment. In 2018, the treatment rate was at 80-83% among patients in the public sector and 71% for the private sector, the report said.

Due to easy availability of molecular diagnostics, the proportion of children diagnosed with TB increased from 6% in 2018 to 8% in 2019. The report highlighted that the provision of HIV testing for all notified TB patients increased from 67% to 81% during the period under consideration.

“The mandatory notification policy, launch of private provider support agency (PPSA) programmes, and incentives to private providers have been major contributing factors to the increase," ‭the report said.

Under the public-private partnership model, Patient Providers Support Agency (PPSA) programmes were introduced across 173 districts in India, which ensured free drugs and diagnostics for patients in the private sector.

As part of the active case finding efforts, 277.4 million vulnerable people were screened in 2019, resulting in the identification of 62,958 TB cases.

The report said approved budgets for the programme were increased substantially from 640 crore in 2016-17 to 3,333 crore in 2019-20, representing over a five-fold increase in funding. “Expansion of treatment services has resulted in a 12% improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients. For 2019, it was 81% compared to 69% in 2018."

The central government seeks to achieve the sustainable development goal of eliminating TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target. “The National TB Elimination Programme has expanded both the laboratory network, as well as diagnostic facilities, to cover the entire country. To end TB by 2025, expansion of TB services and addressing determinants of TB that are beyond health, through a multi-sectoral approach is necessary. All these efforts are yielding significant results," said health minister Harsh Vardhan.

Over half of the notifications were from Uttar Pradesh (20%), Maharashtra (9%), Madhya Pradesh (8%), Rajasthan (7%) and Bihar (7%).

For the first time the Central TB Division also introduced a quarterly ranking on TB elimination efforts by all the states and Union territories, wherein Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh were the best performing states.

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