India continues to have the highest number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world, stated the Global TB Report 2017 released by World Health Organization (WHO). In India, an estimated 27.9 lakh patients were suffering from TB in 2016 and up to 4.23 lakh patients were estimated to have died during the year.
In a letter dated on December 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stating, ‘I have asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to extend all necessary technical and financial support.’
The letter noted that, ‘We cannot allow such human tragedies, for a disease which is treatable and for which drugs and diagnostics are available in public health care system.’ While it is true that Tuberculosis in the country is rising, experts advise that a strong action must be taken.
“TB eradication is just going to be an unfulfilled dream unless there proper community interventions. As per the data, Govandi is the biggest pocket of the most dangerous combination of resistance pattern. I have visited a number of patients home to study the reason. I was shocked to see that these people somehow manage to live in a 150 to 200 sqft area house, without ventilation. Sometimes, 8 people live in a 150 sqft room that is two TB positive patients per room,” said Dr Vikas Oswal, TB expert at GTB Hospital, Sewree.
Dr Sunil Kharpade, deputy director general TB said, “On PM Modi’s direction, a national strategic plan has been developed to eradicate TB by the year 2020 to 2025. We are committed for that. And all the state governments have been instructed about the same.”