TIRUCHY: India accounts for a quarter of the world’s TB burden, with an estimated 27 lakh cases in 2018, according to ‘India TB Report 2019’.
While the number of notified TB patients has increased by 18 per cent in 2018 (21,55,894) as compared to 2017 (18,27,959), deaths due to TB have came down from 5,57,000 in 2010 to 4,49,000 in 2018.
Estimated deaths due to HIV-TB have also reduced in India by 85 per cent from 63,000 in 2010 to 9,700 in 2018, as per the global TB report.
Specifically, in Tiruchy, TB-HIV cases have reduced by 50 per cent in the past four years, according to Dr S Savithri, Deputy Director of Medical Services, TB control.
There are 120 cases of TB-HIV under treatment here currently.
“Because immunity reduces during HIV, chances of contracting TB increase. We have greatly improved diagnostic tests today, so people must get themselves checked at an early stage,” said Dr Nagarajan, Pulmonologist, Kauvery Hospital Tiruchy.
In 2018, the city reported 4,738 cases of TB. Out of these, public sector cases account for 2,983, which is a reduction from 3,036 in 2016.
“Death due to TB in India has reduced. The death rate should be below 5 per cent and we are happy to report deaths are reducing, which means our programme is running okay. We are able to diagnose cases early, which helps us give the patient better treatment. We are implementing early-case findings and putting them under treatment early,” said Savithri.
With the government stepping up efforts to tackle TB, district authorities along with Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) are carrying out counselling activities to spread awareness.
Authorities say they carry out 30 to 40 campaigns per month for screening patients.
Doctors say that the only way to cure TB is early detection, especially in children.
“We have integrated the general health department with the school department to educate people about TB. All government hospitals, PHCs and medical colleges are geared up for case finding among the general OPD population,” said Savithri.
Doctors, though, are worried TB cases are today found in even three-year-old children.
“It is important to screen sputum if a cough lasts for more than two weeks. If anyone has a cough for more than two weeks, they must get screened for TB. If the patient does not get tested, he may spread the infection to 15 others. Due to good diagnostics, we are able to detect TB early,” said Dr. Nagarajan.