Prelims level : Governance Mains level : GS-II Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues Arising out of their Design and Implementation.
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Why in News?

  • According to a WHO Information Note — ‘Tuberculosis and COVID-19’, there is a need to maintain TB services during effective response to COVID-19.
  • It is important that the progress made in TB prevention and care is not reversed by the COVID19 pandemic


  • It said that TB patients who have lung damage or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may suffer from more severe illness if they are infected with COVID-19.
  • Doctors claim that people suffering from TB and COVID-19 may have poorer treatment outcomes, especially if TB treatment is interrupted.

Significance for India:

  • India accounts for 27 per cent of the world’s total TB patients and is among the top 8 countries with the highest number of TB cases.
  • In 2018, as many as 4.4 lakh people died of TB in India which is 29 per cent of the total 1.5 million deaths due to TB in the world.
  • Out of total 7 million cases reported in 2018 across the world, India had 2.69 million cases, while, according to data available, it missed out on tracking down 5.40 lakh cases.
  • There is a stronger case for concurrent testing for both conditions in individuals even if the clinical picture is a typical.
  • The pandemic can help trace 5.4 lakh missed out T.B patients as fear of Coronavirus will induce them for testing as symptoms for TB – fever, cough and difficulty in breathing — are almost similar to coronavirus.
  • The current situation will also help identify people with latent TB – who have the disease but no symptoms.
  • According to WHO, there are 25 percent of patients with latent TB.

Tuberculosis (TB):

  • TB remains the world’s Deadliest Infectious Killer.
  • Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.
  • Caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, TB is an infectious disease.
  • In most cases, TB affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites (non pulmonary TB).
  • Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is a state of persistent immune response to stimulationby Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens without evidence of clinically manifested active
  • Someone has latent TB if they are infected with the TB bacteria but do not have signs of active TB disease and do not feel ill.
  • It is a contagion disease, which spreads when the people who are sick with pulmonary TB expel bacteria into the air, for example by coughing.
  • Rapid molecular test, Sputum smear microscopy, Culture-based methods are some of the diagnostic tests for TB.
  • Without treatment, the mortality rate from TB is high.

Initiatives for TB in India:

  • There is Free Treatment of TB in India.
  • India aims to eliminate TB by 2025 under its National Strategic Plan, while the UN aims to eliminate TB by 2030.
  • It is driven by the DETECT-TREAT-PREVENT-BUILD Approach.
  • The focus is on early diagnosis of all the TB patients,prompt treatment with the right drugs and regimens along with suitable patient support systems including financial and nutritional support.
  • This is supplemented by prevention strategies including active case finding, contact tracing and LTBI management in high risk populations, and airborne infection control.
  • Mass BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccination to prevent TB.
  • Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) was launched in 1993, offering free diagnosis and treatment for patients, rescuing them from otherwise sure death.
  • A Rs 12,000 cr.allocation of fund over the next 3 years to fight TB.
  • A Public campaign: TB Harega Desh Jeetega.
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