With about 2.8 million cases, India is unfortunately the tuberculosis capital of the world. Committed to achieving the target of zero Tuberculosis(TB) deaths by 2025, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, announced the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis elimination (2017-2025) on 24th of March 2017- World TB Day.

 

Issues:

 

  • Delayed diagnosis and initiation of treatment not only jeopardises the patient’s chances of making a timely recovery but also increases the risk of transmission to others.
  • Further, there is considerable heterogeneity in the knowledge levels of private practitioners about the protocols for TB diagnosis and treatment.
  • TB is not a health issue alone. It is a broader societal challenge. Patients often hesitate to seek treatment or deny their condition altogether for fear of losing social standing. The consequence is that TB becomes a death sentence for many even though it is a fully curable illness.

 

Suggestions:

 

  • Mass awareness campaigns like ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ can play an important role in breaking social taboos.
  • Local communication channels such as community radios and street plays must also be leveraged.
  • Children should be engaged through anganwadis and schools for disseminating accurate messages about TB to their families.

 

The overwhelming challenge facing TB control in India remains delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment, particularly among patients seeking care from private providers. Eliminating TB by 2025 is a straight goal no doubt for that both public and private sectors have to come together to make the requisite investments in financing, research, human resource and technology.

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