24th March is observed as WORLD TB DAY.
NEW DELHI: Over six lakh Indians, unaware that they suffer from tuberculosis, are spreading the disease among healthy individuals, seriously jeopardizing global efforts to halve new infection and death rates before 2015.
India is the world's TB capital recording an estimated 1.9 million new cases every year. However, only 70% of these are actually detected and put on the highly effective DOTS programme. Each of these active TB patients left undetected go on to infect 10-15 people on an average, every year.
These are the findings of WHO's latest global tuberculosis control report, which warned of a global slowdown in case detection rates, specially in India and China.
Between 2001 and 2005, detection rates were increasing by 6% a year globally, but in 2006, this rate was halved to 3%. The report said India and China accounted for an estimated 28% of all undetected new smear-positive cases in 2006.
"Progress in case detection decelerated globally between 2005 and 2006, stalled in China and India and fell short of the global plan milestone of 65% for 2006. The African region, China and India collectively account for 69% of undetected cases," the report said.
Speaking to TOI from Geneva, WHO Stop TB director Mario Raviglione said, "More new TB cases are slipping through the detection net. India saw TB case detection rates increase by 10%-12% between 2001-05. However, it fell to 5% in 2006. This could be because India's Revised National TB Control Programme, which made rapid strides during the previous five years, has almost completed all planned expansions and was therefore unable to continue at the same pace in 2006."
The report said that for every five TB cases diagnosed globally in 2006, four went undetected. Speaking to TOI, Marcos Espinal, executive secretary of Stop TB, said from Geneva, "The major concern is that there is a slowdown rather than an acceleration in TB control efforts. India needs to enhance collaboration with private care providers and non-governmental, faith-based and community organisations.
" WHO estimates that a third of the world's population is infected with TB, which depletes the incomes of the world's poorest communities by $12 billion a year. However, only 61% of all TB cases worldwide are registered.
In 2006, some 9.2 million new cases of TB were detected against 9.1 million in 2005. WHO expects funding to combat tuberculosis to remain flat in 2008 in almost all the countries most affected by the disease. An additional $1 billion is needed across the 90 nations which provided financial data to WHO to fight resistant strains and TB-HIV co-infection.
By region, Africa had the highest TB rates while Asia had the most cases. By nation, India had the most cases, followed by China, Indonesia, South Africa and Nigeria, according to the report based on data from 202 countries and territories.
IDF has created a Multi-lingual TB Poster to spread awareness on TB on the World TB Day.
click here to see the Poster.