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Nearly 8 lakh TB patients are slipping through the cracks: Report

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on September 25, 2019 Published on September 25, 2019

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo)   -  PTI

The annual TB Report 2019 said that the detection TB patients has increased by 16 per cent.

Close to eight lakh Tuberculosis (TB) patients are slipping through the cracks as they go undetected in India, the annual TB Report 2019 noted. The report was released by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Of the 27 lakh estimated TB cases, the Revised National TB Programme (RNTCP) was able to pick up 21.5 lakh TB patients, the report states. Not all 21.5 lakh patients had access to treatment. Over two lakh patients were further eliminated, as even though they were detected positive for TB, the Ministry was not able to provide treatment to them. Treatment was initiated in 19.1 lakh cases, which is 90 per cent of those detected.

The report further states that 40,761 new patients who were notified in 2017, died. Of the patients who were on the treatment rolls from previous years, upto 13,423 patients died. The time taken for TB treatment can be between 6 months to over two years.

While the annual report was ready in June itself, it was released after a delay of close to three months.

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The report says that the detection of 21.5 lakh TB patients is a 16 per cent increase compared to 2017. Of these, 5.37 lakh TB patients were picked up from the private sector, a 35 per cent increase from the previous year.

Big task ahead

While India is aiming to eliminate TB by 2025, with close to six lakh patients going undetected and an additional two lakh being detected but going untreated, the task in front of the establishment is humongous.

Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health, said, “Currently TB is declining at 1-2 per cent per year, and to achieve the goal by 2025, we need to have an accelerated annual decline in TB incidence by about 10 per cent.”

The report also says that 79 per cent of those patients notified in 2017 have completed treatment.

Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health, said that in 2018, upto 14.4 crore population was screened under the Active Case Finding programme, which led to an additional reporting of 49, 733 cases.

Kumar also said that the National Drug Resistance Survey for 13 anti-TB drugs stated that 6.2 per cent of all TB patients were resistant to multiple drugs, which means that those drugs would not work on them.

While in 2017 there were 39,866 multi-drug resistant patients, in 2018, there was number increased to 58,347 patients.

The report also states that there are 3,794 extensively drug-resistant patients, which means that very few drugs work on them.

Sheel said that since April 2018, upto ₹427 crores had been released under the ₹500 a month direct benefit transfer (DBT) for nutrition scheme for TB patients.

While the centre disburses the DBT fund, there is poor utilisation of other allocated resources under the RNTCP by states. According to the Financial Management Report (2016-17) the average utilisation of the allocated funds under RNTCP was only 52.7 per cent.

Published on September 25, 2019
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