GUWAHATI, Oct 28 - Identifying and reaching out to the ‘missing’ or undiagnosed cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the North East remains key to India achieving the goal of eliminating the infectious disease by 2025.
There are roughly one million missing or unreported cases in India, majority of which are believed to be in the North East, including newborn babies and infants. The global figure of such missing TB patients stands at nearly three million.
These missing cases are not notified and most of them remain either undiagnosed or inadequately diagnosed and are treated in the private sector.
This was opined by Dr Lalit Kant, advisor, Public Health Foundation of India here today while speaking at the 1st North East TB Conference and Strategic Stakeholders Workshop for Elimination of TB by 2025.
Of the 38,143 TB suspects who were screened in Assam in the first quarter of 2017, 8,298 were detected as TB cases and put on treatment.
“Due to prevalence of high risk groups including HIV patients in the region, it becomes even more crucial to reach out to those. Bringing them to the treatment net is one of the biggest challenges in the country’s fight against the disease,” said Dr Kanti.
Professor VK Arora of the TB Association of India said that as per an estimate, in every one lakh population in the North East, 217 are TB patients. In India, every year nearly 2.8 million new cases are reported. “People need to come out and get treated. TB is preventable as well as curable,” he said.
The conference was inaugurated by Rajya Sabha Member Biswajit Daimary. Dr Sangay Thinley, former Health Secretary and Director, WHO, Bhutan; Dr Bamin Tada, Director RRC-NE-cum-organising secretary, TB Association of NE India; JN Choudhury, vice president, PHFI, New Delhi and Dr Partha Jyoti Gogoi, Senior Regional Director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were also present at the event.
The conference aims to bring together for the first time, civil society from across the country on a common platform to support and strengthen TB control efforts in the NE.