World TB Day: First national drug resistance survey confirms emergence of difficult, riskier forms of Tuberculosis in India

The survey was released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as part of the TB India report 2018, which put the overall incidence of the disease at 2.8 million.

Published: 24th March 2018 08:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2018 08:03 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose. (File photo)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The first national drug resistance survey has found the rate of multi drug resistance among new Tuberculosis patients to be 2.84 per cent and that in previously treated patients to be 11.60 per cent, underlining the need to change the strategy to tackle the disease which is major public health concern in the country.

The survey was released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday as part of the TB India report 2018, which put the overall incidence of the disease at 2.8 million.

A highly infectious disease, TB is the biggest killer in India which claims about 4 lakh lives every year. India also has the highest incidence of the disease—about a quarter of total cases worldwide—each year, the report says.

The government has set an ambitious goal of eliminating TB by 2025—five years before the global target—but with the emergence of drug-resistant TB, this is set to be an extremely challenging task, government sources conceded.

Only about a week back, the health ministry announced that medical practitioners and pharmacists could face a jail term if they fail to notify the government about TB patients. It is estimated that a majority of the patients who undergo treatment for TB in private sector do not get recorded.

Officials in the health ministry said that TB has been a notifiable disease since 2012, one that private doctors and laboratories must report to the government’s reporting system for TB called Nikshay. However, there was no punitive provision, and pharmacists or chemists were not included.

Under the new notification, doctors, laboratories and chemists–including those in the public sector–can face a jail term of between six months and two years under Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and Section 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code.

In the Union budget this year, the government has also announced Rs 500 per month per patient during the course of the treatment, the report released today highlighted.

The report also says that the government aims to bring 80 per centreduction in TB incidence (from 211 per lakh to 43 per lakh) and 90 per reduction in TB mortality (from 32 per lakh to 3 per lakh) by 2025.

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