A nationwide survey to determine the number of patients suffering from tuberculosis will be carried out next year after a gap of nearly six decades.
The central government made the announcement in this regard today, a day after a World Health Organization (WHO) report revealed that the tuberculosis epidemic in India was "larger" than what was previously estimated.
A senior official of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry said such a survey was last conducted in 1956.
According to the Global Tuberculosis Report-2016, "The TB epidemic is larger than previously estimated, reflecting new surveillance and survey data from India.... Six countries accounted for 60 per cent of the new cases -- India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa."
Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda said, "New cases of TB as well deaths due to the disease have reduced. However, the number of cases notified have increased. All these cases were so far going undetected and were not being reported. After our Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), which brought private hospitals under its ambit, the notification has increased."
The Ministry official said, "Until the implementation of RNTCP, while 60 per cent of the patients were going to private hospitals, only 15 per cent were being notified. The increase in the number of cases is because of good, robust data. Now these cases are being detected, notified and addressed."
According to the WHO report, in 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, of which 5.9 million (56 per cent) were among men, 3.5 million (34 per cent) among women and 1.0 million (10 per cent) among children, while people living with HIV accounted for 1.2 million (11 per cent) of all new TB cases.