Tuberculosis in India

Updated at: Mar 22, 2012
Tuberculosis in India

Tuberculosis in India: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) has affected millions in India, and still remains one of the evils in Indian community. How has the disease curbed Indians and what are they doing in order to counter the challenge?

Himanshu Sharma
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Mar 17, 2012

According to report of World Health Organisation (WHO), estimate of individuals affected from tuberculosis is 16-20 million, with one-third contributors belonging to the Indian sub-continent. However, the challenge has been well-received with acceptance of DOTS strategy in the Indian RNTCP. The management of TB cases within the country have exponentially grown over the years.

Over the years, treatment of tuberculosis has been suffering due to financial burden of meeting TB costs, which is about Rs. 1300 crore annually. Of late, high cost of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection treatments has posed threat to restrict the progress of TB treatment scenario in the country. There have been significant changes in policies with the transformation from NTP to RNTCP.

Role of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program

In 1993, World Health Organisation (WHO) released guidelines for National TB Control Programmes, wherein tuberculosis cases were categorised along with its treatment. Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP), a State-run Tuberculosis Control Initiative of the Government of India faces many challenges to tackle ever-increasing roots of disease in the country. The division is focussing on implementation of programs and keeping pace with objectives.

Adopting Rational Treatment Methods

Late 1990s and last decade has witnessed significant changes in managing the fatal disease. Indian community was initialled marred by unscientific beliefs and remedies like drinking goat’s milk for treating the tuberculosis. Introduction of rational methods of tuberculosis management came in late.

Among effective methods of treating tuberculosis are by using anti-TB drugs like Streptomycin (S), Para-amino salicylic acid (P), Isoniazid (H), Thiacetazone (T), Ethambutol (E), Rifampicin (R) and Pyrazinamide (Z), are on a rise. The rational methods are being promoted by National Tuberculosis Programmes (NTPs). Among other challenges before the government division to control tuberculosis are HIV infections leading to tuberculosis, case identification and completion rate.

WHO Guidelines

Guidelines set by WHO pertaining to categorisation of TB cases is being followed in the procedures. Appropriate drug regimens and adherence of follow-up with patients have had positive impacts. Besides, patients are imparted with knowledge regarding every aspect if disease, its treatment, and risks. Moreover, modifications to the drug regimen are being made in the special situations such as diabetes, HIV-infection, pregnancy, renal and liver disease.


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