Number of TB patients increases worldwide after 20 years: WHO

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TB patients increases worldwide

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report “Global Tuberculosis Report 2022” released on 27 October 2022, the incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) patients worldwide has shown an increasing trend reversing a 20 year trend of decline due to covid pandemic.

According to the WHO a total of 16 lakh people died from TB in 2021 which is an increase of 14% as compared to 2019. In 2019 14 lakh people died due to TB while in 2020 it was 15 lakhs. 

The WHO says that due to the ongoing war in different parts of the world, the global energy crisis and the food crisis, the situation of TB may worsen in the coming times. “The first priority should be to restore patient access to TB related services so that the detection and treatment of TB cases can be brought back to 2019 levels,” the report says.

Main Highlights of the WHO Report

  • TB is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19.
  • About 10 million people became ill with TB in 2021, which is 4.5 percent more than in 2020.
  • An estimated 66 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2020.
  • Globally, TB incidence is falling at about 2% per year and between 2015 and 2020 the cumulative reduction was 11%. 
  • Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • In 2021, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the South-East Asian Region, with 46% of new cases, followed by the WHO African Region, with 23% of new cases and the WHO Western Pacific with 18%.

India leads the New TB cases 

According to the WHO, in 2020, 87% of new TB cases occurred in the 30 high TB burden countries. Eight countries accounted for more than two thirds of the global total. 

Maximum new cases were reported from India and followed by, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

TB related Deaths 

India ranks first among the four countries that have the highest number of TB related deaths. It is followed by Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines. 

The report says that it is possible that TB will once again be the number one cause of death in the world. Last year it was covid -19. 

What is TB? 

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.

TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

India and TB

The government has set a target to eliminate TB from India by 2025.

Every year March 24 is observed as World Tuberculosis Day in the world. 

World Health Organisation (WHO)

  • The World Health Organisation is a specialised agency of the United Nations which was founded on 7 April, 1948.
  • Headquarters of WHO : Geneva, Switzerland
  • Members : 194 countries
  • Director General of WHO:  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  of Ethiopia .

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