Tuberculosis is a major health problem in India. The country has the largest number of TB cases in the world — over a quarter of the global total. Each year, more than two million people in India fall ill with TB, and 310,000 people die from it. India is now second only to China in the number of new cases of multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), with an estimated 21,000 in 2012.
Stats and facts: TB in India
In 2012, there were 850 deaths a day from TB in India.
- Number of new TB cases: 2,200,000
- Deaths from TB: 312,000
- Incidence: 176 per 100,000 population
- Percentage of people whose TB is not diagnosed: 41%
- Percentage of cases with HIV: 6%
- Estimated new TB cases with multi-drug resistance: 2.2%
TB treatment for all
In 1993, the Indian government launched a nationwide programme providing free TB treatment for all. But in a vast country where a third of its 1.2 billion population lives on less than US$1.25 a day, it’s a challenge to make sure people can actually get to this life-saving treatment. Many people are still unaware they can get free treatment, even if they know they are ill with TB. In rural India, many are put off travelling to clinics because of transport costs, loss of earnings, or the distances involved. Certain tribal populations and lower castes are cut off from public health care. Some people, meanwhile, prefer traditional healers who are unregulated and know little about TB.
TB Alert has been working in India since 2000 to help the government reach the most vulnerable communities and give them access to life-saving treatment. Our sister organisation, TB Alert India, was formed in 2004 and has since been at the forefront of wide-ranging efforts to fight TB.
Reaching out to the poor and vulnerable
We support two projects that help those in some of the poorest communities in India get vital TB treatment:
- Our Delhi Divine Project helps 600,000 people in urban slums in the capital by providing them with community-based services such as diagnosis, testing and treatments. The project also provides information and raises awareness about TB.
- We work with the poorest communities in Andhra Pradesh state, which is severely affected by TB and HIV. The TB Advocacy Project (TAP) helps over 300,000 people living in poverty learn more about the disease and the free public treatment they can access.
TB Alert India also manages two programmes to reduce levels of TB:
- Project Axshya, in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the leading global funder of TB programmes. Axshya is a major nationwide initiative to reduce TB through working at a grassroots level.
- The PRATAM (Pharmacist RHCPs Activism in TB Care and Control as Animators and Motivators) project in Telangana State works closely with community-based health professionals to help people get quick and effective care for TB.