Tiruchy district's tuberculosis mortality rate increased by 1 per cent every year since 2019: Sources
The district's annual tuberculosis mortality rate has recorded an increase over three years. The rate, which stood at 7% in 2019, rose to 8% in 2020, and 9% in 2021, sources said.
Published: 25th July 2022 06:56 AM | Last Updated: 25th July 2022 06:56 AM | A+A A-
TIRUCHY: The district's annual tuberculosis (TB) mortality rate has recorded an increase over three years. The rate, which stood at 7% in 2019, rose to 8% in 2020, and 9% in 2021, sources said. In 2019, the number of TB cases was recorded at 3,474 and the number of deaths at 255.
Cases in 2020 were 2,158 and the number of deaths at 193. In 2021, cases recorded were 2,466 while the number of deaths was 224. Out of the total 8,098 cases recorded in the three years, 328 were below 18 years of age. Sources have attributed the rise in mortality over the past two years partly to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Official sources said both Covid-19 and TB have similar symptoms, and the medical community prioritised diagnosing and treating Covid-19. Owing to fear of testing positive for Covid-19, TB patients might have avoided the test, which could have led to increase in mortality rate, sources said. Explaining the challenges in treating and saving lives of TB patients, district TB officer Dr S Savithri said,
"The biggest challenge is a patient's willingness to come forward and get diagnosed for TB. If anyone shows symptoms, the person should immediately approach doctors for early diagnosis. The Covid situation might have contributed to the rise in mortality rate among TB patients.
However, in 2022, the numbers are coming down. Combining the first two quarters, only 103 TB patients have died this year. As regards measures to control TB, we have six test centres. Bedaquiline, a very effective drug, is used for treating TB. We also give the drug to private hospitals when they need it." The Union government is giving an honorarium for TB Treatment Supporters where a patient gets Rs 1,000 in the first month followed by Rs 500 for the next five months.
"Private practitioners should notify the district TB office about every TB patient they diagnose. They should not hesitate to refer a patient to us if they suspect TB. Early detection can prevent deaths. Several NGOs are helping us to provide nutrition support to TB patients. However, we are also open to those who are willing to sponsor and support the affected," Dr Savithri said.