Tuberculosis, popularly called TB, a fatal epidemic is caused by various mycobacterium tuberculosis. Affecting an individual’s lungs, it also affects other parts of the body. It spreads through air in presence of active TB infection in the form of cough, sneeze, other respiratory fluids. Only one in ten dormant cases advance to the stage of an active disease while 50 per cent of the total untreated cases die due to lack of amenities.
Robert Koch, a German Physician and microbiologist, found the causal the agents of TB. Initially, it was believed that TB was inherited in individuals, however; Koch was convinced that this was caused by a bacterium and was contagious. Through his observations from his experiments, he published his findings about tuberculosis in 1882. His declaration on the causal agents and findings on the epidemic won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology and medicine in 1905.
To mark one hundredth anniversary of Robert Koch’s findings on curing TB, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (IUATLD) declared 24th March as World TB Day. The yearlong effort of IUATLD and WHO(World Health Organization) under the theme “Defeat TB: Now and Forever”, was acknowledged by the World Health Assembly of WHO. Many other organizations along with WHO decided to promote World TB Day. The year 1998 proved to be a remarkable one, as many countries united to fight against the disease as part of STOP TB Day.
The day (24th March) is celebrated to generate awareness about the epidemic and the steps taken to uproot it. Every year, the Government of India publishes a status report on TB in India and the measures taken to cure it. Taking remarkable steps to reduce mortality and morbidity rate due to TB, Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) is making efforts to provide access to advanced practices for diagnosis and provision of treatment for all patients of TB. The entire programme is run actively through the use of ICT (information communication Technology) tools, facilitating better cure and prevention.
Out of 8.6 million reported cases of tuberculosis, the highest number of TB cases (2.2 million) have been identified in India. RNTCP has been continuously working on innovation to improve issues relating to diagnosis, cure and prevent transmission of TB. Even after many innovations and achievements in medication, there are many cases which still remain unidentified and thus, untreated. Government of India’s initiatives to provide preventive and curative measures to identified cases in urban, rural, tribal and areas with difficult reach has been a challenge.
To overcome the challenge of identification of TB cases, aimed at the theme of TB theme of 2015 –“Reach, treat and cure everybody”; the RNTCP team introduced Nikshay, a web based reporting system. It helps identify TB patients, complying with the necessary treatment and thus, managing the TB cases efficiently. Celebration of TB day in India will help motivate individuals in curing the disease and making India TB free.
By – Aditi Singh,