Mains Daily Question
March 24, 2023
Despite several efforts and regulations, tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant issue in India. Discuss. Also, provide measures to better tackle the burden of tuberculosis.
Introduction: Define the present status of tuberculosis and the efforts taken in this direction.
- Provide reasons for TB being a significant issue.
- Also, provide solutions to tackle TB.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward and further connect it with the sustainable development goal of 2030.
India notified more than 2.4 million TB cases in 2019 as per the national health portal. Multiple efforts have been taken to address TB including the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, free diagnostic and treatment services, and a national strategic plan to end TB by 2025. Despite this, TB remains a serious public health issue in India in 2023, with India accounting for the biggest number of TB cases worldwide.
- In urban slums, poor living conditions and overpopulation accelerate tuberculosis spread.
- Lack of knowledge on the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of tuberculosis delays diagnosis and treatment.
- In rural locations, limited access to healthcare facilities and poor quality of treatment worsens the TB burden.
- According to the World Health Organization, a high frequency of comorbidities such as diabetes, HIV, and malnutrition enhances susceptibility to tuberculosis.
- Inadequate private-sector TB diagnosis and treatment services lead to underreporting and inferior treatment results.
- The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2022 also highlighted the emergence of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis owing to the improper use of antibiotics and insufficient treatment adherence.
- Insufficient financing and inadequate policies limit TB control efforts.
- Boost TB education and awareness efforts via community participation and mass media campaigns.
- In underprivileged communities, improve access to excellent healthcare services, particularly TB diagnosis, and treatment. Example: TB program in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu that enhanced case identification and treatment success rates in rural regions by 2022.
- Integrate TB screening and treatment services into programs for primary care and non-communicable diseases. Since 2019, TB-HIV integrated services have been provided in Maharashtra.
- As tried via the Nikshay portal, increase business sector participation through public-private partnerships to provide excellent TB diagnosis and treatment.
- Ensure appropriate financing and political support for the continuation of TB control activities. Example: India's pledge to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 and its increasing provision of cash for TB control from 2021.
- To avoid the spread of tuberculosis, infection control procedures in healthcare institutions should be bolstered.
- To combat drug-resistant tuberculosis, improved TB diagnostic technologies and treatment regimens must be developed and implemented. GeneXpert technology enables quicker TB diagnosis and shorter drug-resistant TB treatment regimens, for instance.
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) of 2030, particularly SDG 3 on good health and well-being, prioritize the elimination of TB as a public health threat. By implementing a multi-sectoral approach and strengthening healthcare systems, India can achieve sustainable TB control, leading to improved health outcomes and contributing to the attainment of the SDGs.