Hyderabad: According to reports by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there is an 18% increase in tuberculosis cases reported in 2018 from 2017. The positive part is that in 2018, the deaths registered through TB HIV in India have reduced by 85%; that is from 63,000 in 2010 to 9,700 in 2018.

As per the latest report in 2018, 2,155,894 cases of TB were diagnosed, but only 1,827,959 TB cases were diagnosed in 2017. The report also states that maximum numbers of people suffering from TB are in the age group of 15 to 44. Around 1,268,705 (59%) belonging to 15-44 age group, suffer from TB.

In India, 137,570 (6%) children below the age of 15 suffer from TB, while 749,620 (35%) adults aged more than 45 suffer from TB, says the report. The study adds that poverty, under-nutrition, poorly ventilated living condition, air pollution, and tobacco smoking are the leading causes of TB in India.

Dr Sudheer Nadimpalli, a pulmonologist, says, “The main reason for spreading of TB in India is poor cough etiquette among people. People cough in the open, which should be completely avoided, as this leads to spread of infection between people. The additional major problem is that patients discontinue medications when they reach halfway in their treatment. Although the government’s latest initiative to report all cases and monitor these patients is in place, there are still a sizeable number of patients who default on medications, thereby leading to drug resistance.”

The Global Self Development Goals, a target given by the United Nations, says that the world should eradicate TB by 2030. Meanwhile, India has kept its goal to end TB by 2025, states the report. Keeping 2015 as the base year, the report says that in three years, we have achieved 80% reduction in TB incidences and a 90% reduction in TB mortality. The prevalence of TB has reduced from 217 per lakh in 2015 to 199 per lakh in 2018. The mortality rate had decreased from 36 per lakh in 2015 to 33 per lakh in 2018.

The Health Ministry says that it is trying to achieve the targets by implementing a National Strategic Plan. Under this programme, they aim to make an early diagnosis of TB patients and prevent airborne infectious diseases.

The data was given by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare Department, Dr Harsh Vardhan, answering a question posed Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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