Recently, a senior doctor has stated that India needs political will and dedication with sufficient resources to tackle TB epidemic. Unless this happens, TB will continue to be India's silent epidemic and a death sentence for poor people, warns Dr.Zarir Udwadia, consultant physician and public health specialist.
Twenty years ago, it was widely believed that India was successfully on its way to controlling its alarming tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. Yet, each year, India has 2.2 million new cases, more than 300,000 deaths, and economic losses of $23 billion from TB, making it India's biggest health crisis.
At the heart of this crisis was the failure of India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) to engage and monitor the country's large and unregulated private sector, argues Dr.Udwadia. "India desperately needs new drugs for the growing population of patients with more extreme forms of drug resistant TB, who have nearly exhausted the available first and second line drugs," he said.
TB Activists, Mike Frick, Dalene von Delft, and Blessina Kumar, also pointed out that the social and economic impact of stigma can affect peoples' willingness to undergo tuberculosis screening and treatment and has clouded the vision of research and programs.
March 24 has been marked as World Tuberculosis Day.