India Witnessed Maximum Number Of TB Deaths In 2016

2.8mn TB cases in India, but WHO notes higher funding

2.8mn TB cases in India, but WHO notes higher funding

"While the world has committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2030, actions and investments don't match the political rhetoric. 56% were in five countries: India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Pakistan", the report states.

Despite global efforts to reduce the mortality rate of tuberculosis, TB, Nigeria still ranks high among the seven countries which account majorly for the disease globally. It involves nine months of medication for the drug-sensitive strain, and an even more exacting two-year-long treatment with a much stronger cocktail of drugs, at Rs 1 lakh per case, for the drug-resistant variety.

He said multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. "The number of deaths has also come down", Dr Khaparde said. Though the government runs a national TB eradication programme and provides free medicines to almost two million infected people via dispensaries, it is evident that such efforts have not yielded desired outcomes.

The United Nations agency said that although efforts to combat tuberculosis have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the diseases' mortality rate by 37 per cent, it nevertheless remained 2016's top infectious killer, the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance and the leading killer of people with HIV.

"Prompt action towards universal health coverage and social protection, as well as breakthroughs in research and innovations - will be critical to enable access to patient-centred care of the highest standards for all, especially the poorest, most disadvantaged people everywhere", he said.

Nigeria ranked sixth among the countries with the global burden. "Treatment success remains low, at 54% globally", the report said. Underreporting and underdiagnoses also continue to be a challenge, especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors and weak health systems.

About India's increased funding, the reports states: "India stood out as a country in which the budget envelope for TB was substantially increased in 2017 (to $525 million, nearly double the level of 2016), following political commitment from the Prime Minister to the goal of ending TB by 2025". Most of the gaps related to HIV-associated TB were in the WHO African Region.

Although access to preventive treatment has expanded for individuals living with HIV and children under 5, those individuals who are eligible for preventive treatment are not accessing it. Poverty, HIV infection, undernutrition, and smoking are still the broader influences on the epidemic around the world.

"Shortfalls in TB funding are one of the main reasons why progress is not fast enough to be on track to reach the end TB targets", said Katherine Floyd, coordinator of WHO's Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Global TB Programme.

"We have a double challenge". The report also suggested that there were as many as 1.04 crore deaths in just one year and 64% of the total number accounted for only seven countries.

"The budget is fully funded, including US$ 387 million (74%) from domestic sources (triple the amount of US$ 124 million in 2016) and the remainder (26%) from global donor sources", it said.

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