India too slow to meet TB elimination targets, says WHO

October 18, 2019 0 By FM

Nearly every TB high-burden country except Indonesia remains far behind the pace needed to meet the global elimination target by 2030, reports WHO.

India has the highest TB burden in the world with one in four of all global cases reported in the country. The Indian government has made the fight against TB a central priority and boldly pledged to end TB by 2025, five years before the globally agreed target.

“According to the WHO’s report, the number of people with TB in India is falling”, said Dr Paula I Fujiwara, Scientific Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) in the WHO release. “This demonstrates that making serious gains against TB in a short time frame is possible even in the world’s largest and most geographically diverse countries if political leaders prioritise the disease.” she added.

However, Dr. Fujiwara raised concern that TB is still not falling nearly fast enough in India, with the progress that is still too slow to meet the targets. “If we don´t end TB in India we can’t hope to end TB globally.” she said.

World Health Organization´s (WHO) 2019 Global Tuberculosis Report confirms that tuberculosis (TB) remains the single most lethal infectious disease globally, surpassing HIV/AIDS, killing nearly 1.6 million people annually.

The report also stresses that the end of TB will remain out of reach until national leaders step up.

“One of the most concerning parts of the new report is the global failure to prevent adequate numbers of new infections.” says Dr. Fujiwara.

The release concludes anticipating significant announcements on prevention trials at the upcoming 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad in India.