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Home / News / World /  India among 3 countries having largest share of global TB burden: WHO

India is one of the three countries bearing the largest share of the global burden of Tuberculosis (TB) cases along with China and the Russian Federation, revealed the Global TB report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday.

The report also said that in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa, four countries that account for 44% of global TB cases, there were large drops in the reported number of people diagnosed with TB between January and June 2020. The data reflects that the drop in the diagnosis may be due to the lockdowns due to the covid-19.

India with Indonesia is also the biggest contributors to the global increase in cases in terms of estimated incidence of the disease. “The two countries that rank first and second worldwide in terms of estimated incident cases per year. Increases in absolute terms were particularly large in two high TB burden countries, India and Indonesia, at 513 000 people (31%) and 120 000 people (27%), respectively," the report said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again said that India has set a target for complete elimination of TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030.

Approximately 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses in 2019. Of the estimated 10 million people who developed TB that year, some 3 million were not diagnosed with the disease, or were not officially reported to national authorities, according to the report. “The situation is even more acute for people with drug-resistant TB. About 465 000 people were newly diagnosed with drug-resistant TB in 2019 and, of these, less than 40% were able to access treatment. There has also been limited progress in scaling up access to treatment to prevent TB," the WHO said in a statement.

“Equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care remains a challenge. Accelerated action is urgently needed worldwide if we are to meet our targets by 2022," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

According to the report, data collated from over 200 countries has shown significant reductions in TB case notifications, with 25-30% drops reported in 3 high burden countries – India, Indonesia, the Philippines – between January and June 2020 compared to the same 6-month period in 2019. These reductions in case notifications could lead to a dramatic increase in additional TB deaths, according to WHO modelling.

In terms of funding, in 121 low- and middle-income countries that reported data (and accounted for 98% of reported TB cases globally), funding is projected to reach US$ 6.5 billion in 2020. This is higher than estimated expenditures of US$ 6.0–6.1 billion annually in these countries between 2017 and 2019, but still only 50% of the global target of at least US$ 13 billion annually by 2022. Moreover, the final amount may be lower due to reallocation of funding for the COVID-19 response.

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