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21.4 Lakh TB cases notified in India in 2021, 18% higher than 2020: Govt

India notified 21.4 lakh TB cases last year which is approx. 18% higher than 2020, the union health ministry said on Friday highlighting the latest findings of the WHO Global TB Report 2022.

The report discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the diagnosis, treatment and burden of disease for TB all over the world.

The health ministry taken note of the WHO TB report and clarified that India has, in fact, performed far better on major metrics as compared to other countries over time.

“India’s TB incidence for the year 2021 is 210 per 100,000 population – compared to the baseline year of 2015 (incidence was 256 per lakh of population in India); there has been an 18% decline which is 7 percentage points better than the global average of 11%. These figures also place India at the 36th position in terms of incidence rates i.e. from largest to smallest incidence numbers,” stated ministry

“While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TB Programmes across the world, India was able to successfully offset the disruptions caused, through the introduction of critical interventions in 2020 and 2021 – this led to the National TB Elimination Programme notifying over 21.4 lakh TB cases – 18% higher than 2020. This success can be attributed to an array of forward-looking measures implemented by the Programme through the years, such as the mandatory notification policy to ensure all cases are reported to the government,” health ministry statement said.

Further, the government intensified door-to-door active case finding drives to screen patients and ensure no household is missed. In 2021, over 22 crore people were screened for TB.

“The aim was to find and detect more cases to curb the transmission of the disease in the community. For this purpose, India has also scaled up diagnostic capability to strengthen detection efforts. Indigenously-developed molecular diagnostics have helped expand the reach of diagnosis to every part of the country today. India has over 4,760 molecular diagnostic machines across the country, reaching every district.

Meanwhile, the central government initiated domestic studies to arrive at a more accurate estimate of incidence and mortality rates in a systematic manner. The results of the Health Ministry’s study will be available in approximately six months’ time and shared further with WHO.

During 2020 and 2021, India made cash transfers of 89 million dollars to TB patients through a Direct Benefit Transfer programme.

Earlier in September, India has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative, Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan to provide additional nutritional support to those on TB treatment, through contributions from community including individuals and organizations. Till date, 40,492 donors have come forward to support over 10,45,269 patients across the Country.

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