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Q. WHO report on TB in India: Comment on WHO report, which reported high tuberculosis cases in India.
Oct 26, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Global Tuberculosis Report, which has been released recently by The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) says that India has 2.8 million people afflicted by the tuberculosis (TB). According to the report, India accounts 27% of the total global tuberculosis cases for 2015. Out of 28 million, 79,000 people means 13.6% people had multi drug resistant TB.

Issue-

The stock-out of TB drugs caused by careless public health system and failure to renew a vital contract to supply of drugs by administration would have contributed to the rise of the potent multi-drug resistant variant of the disease.

Analysis-

  • The WHO report reflects a dysfunctional public healthcare system of India, and low levels of income, nutrition and awareness that persist in India.
  • Similarly the insensitive attitude shown by private sector in treatment of people generally goes unchecked by regulation.
  • Though the government has revised TB control programmes through free-cost medicines, but give that public healthcare is either non-functional or overburdened.
  • As per some recent report, even one third of poor people also prefers private health care system, it reflects the state of public health care system.
  • Generally the official figures do not account for those accessing the informal sector, some studies estimate that nearly 50% of TB cases are outside any organised healthcare system.

Impact-

  • Poor diagnostics practice that exist in private and informal sectors will hamper the treatment.
  • The treatment plan offered outside the public system is often not in line with the WHO, instead they prescribe high-dosage antibiotics, which makes TB symptoms and building drug resistance.
  • Nearly 57% of TB cases in rural India are linked to malnutrition.

Suggestions-

  • Though funding for TB has increased many fold, but still public health care system is not up to the mark. Hence it needs to upgraded as per current requirement.
  • Similarly with reference to private sector, it needs better surveillance, improved reporting, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Government must ensure counselling and support of patients, so that they complete their course of treatment in a proper way.

Conclusion-

The WHO report on tuberculosis in India has shown the status of health care system in India. The government must take serious note of this report and this issue must be addressed with due care. Government must undertake various measures to make public health system as functional and should adopt all modern methods in fight against TB.


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