Spotlight on Tuberculosis in India
Date Posted: Jul 30 2015

Tuberculosis in India

While Tuberculosis (TB) has been largely controlled within countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., this is not yet true of India. There are approximately 2.2 million cases of TB in India every year – leading to two deaths every three minutes. It is one of the leading causes of death in Jharkhand, the rural area of India where the Hospital for Hope is based.

What is Tuberculosis

TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is an infectious disease which can be passed from person to person through droplets – from talking, coughing or sneezing.

There are two different conditions related to TB infections:

A person who’s immune system cannot stop the bacterium multiplying has TB disease. They will display symptoms which typically include a long-term cough (sometimes producing blood when they do so), pains in the chest, weakness and a fever. The risk of developing TB disease is increased if a patient’s immune system is compromised or if they have other underlying health conditions. A patient is also at an increased risk of developing TB disease just after infection with the bacterium – before their immune system can sufficiently respond.

People can also suffer from latent TB – where they carry the bacteria but don’t show any symptoms. Whilst patients are not infectious at this stage, the bacteria can become active at any point and they can develop TB disease.

It is important to identify people with both of these TB conditions and provide appropriate treatment and advice, to effectively control the spread of tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis Detection & Treatment

A simple blood test can diagnose TB and, with proper interventions, patients with tuberculosis can be successfully treated and cured. Both latent and TB disease can be treated using drug regimes.

The drug regime for TB disease lasts for 6-9 months. As well as provision of treatment, it is important that patients are made aware of the importance of completing the full course. Failure to do so can result in a resistance to these drugs, making treatment even more difficult in the future. Drug resistance is an increasing problem in treatment of TB so having these educational messages within the community is important.

How you can Help

Despite being treatable, tuberculosis remained one of the leading causes of death with the Jharkhand community. The Hospital for Hope is providing treatment and education around TB from within this community and hopes to change that.

You can help us in this effort by donating or by helping spread the word of our project by following us on social media – every little bit of support takes us one step towards achieving our goals. Many people across the world live in areas where TB is well controlled and cases are treated effectively and cured – we believe that the people of Jharkhand deserve this too.

Sources:

World Health Organization

CDC Tuberculosis Page