Over 500 lives are lost annually due to tuberculosis in Himachal Pradesh, out of which 100 were reported from Kangra district alone in 2017.

Sharing this at a Continuing Medical Education programme for private doctors at Palampur, the health officials said the figure is more than swine flu, jaundice, dengue and scrub typhus deaths combined in the state.

As per records, 16,451 patients were notified in the state of Himachal in 2017 as per Annual TB Report, of which 736 were from the private sector.

The state TB Officer Dr RK Baria said that TB remains an obstinate challenge, with under-diagnosis and underreporting of TB cases.

He said the involvement of private providers is critical to achieve reach to missing cases. He said the Government of India has made it compulsory to notify every TB case, whether diagnosed in government or private sector.

WHO Consultant Dr Ravinder Kumar shared that Drug resistant (DR) TB spread is undermining efforts to control the TB epidemic. Multidrug-resistant (MDRTB) and Extensively drug-resistant [XDR-TB] develop when the TB drug regimen is improperly administered, or when people with TB stop taking their medicines before the disease has been fully cured.

“Once a drug-resistant strain has developed, it can be transmitted directly to others. In India, 2.8 pc of new TB cases and 11.6 pc of retreatment cases have DR- TB. Himachal has over 550 DR TB cases of which 91 are in Kangra. Rising multidrug-resistant TB threatens the gains and health security threat,” he said.

Medical Superintendent at the Civil Hospital Palampur, Dr Vinay Mahajan shared that standards of TB Care in India define the quality of care for patients. Drug susceptibility test (DST) guided treatment is the policy now and, there is free access to all private sector patients also for GeneXpert test in the Hospital.

District Health Officer Dr Rajesh Guleri said that to address myths misconceptions and stigma, capacity building of Panchayati raj representatives is being done under Mukhya Mantri Kshay Rog Nivaran Yojana (MMKRNY) this month throughout the district.

The officials said the WHO has declared TB a global health emergency. India topped the list of countries across the world with the highest number of people infected with tuberculosis. An estimated 27 lakh patients were diagnosed and 4.1 lakh died of the disease in 2017. Though curable, TB continues to be the leading cause of death from an infectious disease.