India has made tremendous progress in improving case detection and reversed the impact of COVID-19 on the tuberculosis (TB) programme, noted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘Global TB Report 2023’ released earlier this week, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
TB treatment coverage, according to the report, has also improved to 80% of the estimated TB cases, an increase of 19% over the previous year.
India’s efforts have resulted in the reduction of TB incidence by 16% from 2015 to 2022, almost double the pace at which global TB incidence is declining (which is 8.7%). TB mortality has also reduced by 18% during the same period in India, and globally.
“The WHO has made a downward revision of TB mortality rates from 4.94 lakh in 2021 to 3.31 lakh in 2022, a reduction of over 34%,’’ a release issued by the Health Ministry said.
It added that in the ‘Global TB Report 2022’, the WHO and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, had agreed to publish the data for India as “Interim” with an understanding that the WHO would work with the Ministry’s technical team to finalise the figures.
The report notes that India’s intensified case detection strategies resulted in the highest ever notification of cases in 2022, when over 24.22 lakh TB cases were notified, surpassing the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Key initiatives launched and scaled up by the government include active case finding drives, scaling up molecular diagnostics at the block level, decentralisation of screening services via the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres, and private sector engagement have resulted in significantly bridging the gap in missing cases.