An estimation of 10.6 million people in 2021 fell ill due to tuberculosis(TB), an increase of 4.5% from 2020 has been observed, and 1.6 million people died from TB according to WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report released on October 27, 2022, noting down how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the diagnosis, treatment, and vaccination of TB.
Tuberculosis is a potentially serious infectious disease commonly affecting lungs. Mostly adults develop this disease— in 2021, 56.5% were men, adult women comprises 32.5% and remaining 11% were children.
According to Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said that more than 24 lakh TB patients were notified in 2019. The number of missing cases has reduced to 2.9 lakh cases in 2019, in contrast to more than 10 lakh in 2017.
The WHO report pointed out that the occurrence of the disease has decreased by 18% from five years- it was 256 cases per lakh in 2015 to 210 cases per lakh in 2021- TB cases in India has significantly increased by 6.6% in the same five year span. Undernourishment and nutrition were two of the major reasons pointed out in their report. The report claims that the microbiological detection of TB at an earlier stage is key factor for diagnosing and treatment.
The Global Hunger Report 2022 has recently ranked India’s position at 107 among 121 countries. The report lowers India’s rank based on the Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) at 16.3%.
A recent study published at The Indian Journal of Tuberculosis, was designed to study the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of Tuberculosis patients in and around Chandigarh. The results suggested that persons suffering from TB were from the worst of the socioeconomic conditions. The Odd Ratio(OR) increased by 3.14 percent foe every decrease of 500 income level per person to 2000 monthly income.
More deaths were reported for Tuberculosis than HIV
As the WHO reports, in 2021, 1.4 million death cases were reported due to tuberculosis, which is more than double the number of deaths attributed to HIV with 0.65 million cases. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated TB mortality rate far more than AIDS, whose mortality has actually decreased between 2019 and 2021. Although on a positive note, the global target for TB preventive people living with HIV was 6 million in a period of 2018-2022 reaching more than 10 million in only 4 years. India is one among the seven countries who has contributed for 82% of those who started on preventive treatments in 2021.
The report restates for urgent measures taken to restore access to essential TB services. Further calls were made for increased investments, multi-sectoral action to address the broader determinants responsible for influencing TB epidemics and their socioeconomic impact as well as the need for new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. WHO will be calling a high-level summit in early 2023 to check on the vaccine development process.