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Current Affairs 24 March 2019 Digest 1: World Tuberculosis Day 2019: How the Day was celebrated in India?

Despite significant steps taken to end the epidemic, Tuberculosis remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer as around 4500 people die every day due to TB and around 30000 people fall ill with this curable disease.

Mar 25, 2019 10:16 IST
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World Tuberculosis Day 2019 observed globally

24 March: World Tuberculosis Day

The World Tuberculosis (TB) Day was observed across the globe on March 24, 2019 with an aim to raise public awareness about the upsetting health and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

Theme of 2019 World Tuberculosis Day

The theme of World TB Day 2019 was “It’s time”. The theme drew attention of the global leaders towards the urgency to end the global epidemic of TB by:

  • Scaling up access to prevention and treatment
  • Building accountability
  • Ensuring sufficient and sustainable financing
  • Promoting an end to TB stigma and discrimination
  • Promoting an equitable and people-centered TB response

Campaign launched by the WHO

On the occasion of the World TB Day 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a joint initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” along with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership to speed up response to TB and ensure access to care in line with WHO’s ‘Universal Health Coverage’ initiative.

The campaign calls on all the governments, communities, civil society organizations, health-care organisations and partners to act in this worrying situation – “It’s time for action! It’s time to End TB.”

How the Day was celebrated in India?

TB free India

On the Day, President Ram Nath Kovind urged all stakeholders to come together to achieve a TB free India. He appealed to the people dedicate themselves towards achieving the goal.

India renewed its commitments and intentions to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global targets.

Key policies introduced to eliminate TB in India

  • Attributed to the path breaking policy changes introduced by the Government for universal access to free diagnostics and treatment services, over 21 lakh new TB patients were notified in 2018.
  • Increasing private sector engagement strengthened regulatory measures, and successful Patient Provider Support Agency (PPSA) interventions led to a 35 percent increase in TB notification from the private sector.
  • Universal drug susceptibility testing was rolled out.
  • India is moving towards an injection free regimen.
  • The Nikshay Poshan Yojana benefited 15 lakh TB patients for nutrition support with Rs 240 cores disbursed as Direct Benefit Transer since April 2018.
  • So far, 15 lakh patients have been initiated in the Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) regime.
  • TB forums at various levels in the states have been formed to create awareness about the symptoms of the disease and sensitise people about the free treatment available at the government health facilities.

India achieved 84% reduction in TB deaths among HIV patients: UN

As per the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), India achieved 84 percent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017.  

It is the highest recorded decline among over 20 nations and the achievement is also three years ahead of the 2020 target of reducing TB deaths among people living with HIV by 75 percent, as outlined in the 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS.

According to the World Health Organisation estimates, globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV fell by 42 percent since 2010.

What led to the proclamation of 24 March as World Tuberculosis Day?

The World TB Day commemorates the event in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.

The Day provides the opportunity to spread public awareness on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment to end TB.

Tuberculosis: A Global Epidemic

Despite significant steps taken to end the epidemic, Tuberculosis remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer as around 4500 people die every day due to TB and around 30000 people fall ill with this curable disease.

In 2017, WHO reported that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016.

Majorly, the disease thrives among people living in poverty, communities and groups that are marginalized such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, the elderly, marginalised women and children.

The Global concentrated efforts undertaken to combat TB have been successful in saving around 54 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42 percent.

In September 2018, the global leaders came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting.