Why is it in the news?
- India’s elderly population is increasing due to advances in healthcare and longer life expectancy.
- In 2011, 9% of India’s population was over 60, expected to rise to 12.5% by 2030.
- Older individuals often face challenges in getting timely TB diagnoses and managing the disease due to comorbidities.
- Tuberculosis (TB) affects over 25 lakh Indians annually and kills at least 1,000 people every day.
- The prevalence of TB among people over 55 is much higher than the national average.
More about the news
- TB symptoms are often mistaken for signs of old age, leading to delayed or missed diagnoses.
- Management is complicated by comorbidities, leading to irregular treatment adherence and poor outcomes.
- Older people may experience reduced “will to live” due to lack of social and emotional support.
- Access to healthcare services, reliable health information, and nutritious food is limited for older individuals.
- Many elderly individuals rely on savings or family support and may lose economic independence.
- Further, limited social welfare schemes are available for the elderly.
- TB-related stigma and ageism contribute to mental health challenges, loneliness, and anxiety.
Building Age-Responsive TB Care
- Investment in the health and unique needs of the elderly is crucial.
- Holistic care models are needed to reduce the need for elderly individuals to interact with multiple healthcare providers.
- Health professionals need better training in understanding and managing TB in the elderly with comorbidities.
- Improved case-finding methods for the elderly, including mobile diagnostic vans and active case finding in geriatric settings.
Protocols and support for the elderly
- Develop technical and operational protocols for diagnosing and treating TB in the elderly.
- Implement support protocols, such as elder-focused community care models, doorstep delivery of medicines, and peer support.
- Strengthen data collection and analysis for elderly TB cases and collaboration within the healthcare system.
- Establish a research agenda focused on TB in the elderly to understand trends, drug resistance, co-morbidities, and equity issues.
- Investigate intersectionality with gender, disability, class, and caste in elderly TB cases.
- TB is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- It primarily affects the lungs but can impact other body parts.
- It is treatable and curable.
- Transmission occurs through the air when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or spit.
- Common symptoms include cough with sputum, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.
- The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is used to prevent TB.
- In 2020, 1.5 million people died from TB, and 10 million fell ill with the disease globally.
TB in India
- India has the highest TB burden in the world.
- Approximately 26 lakh people contract TB, and about 4 lakh die from it annually in India.
- Challenges in controlling TB in India include poor rural healthcare infrastructure, unregulated private healthcare practices, poverty, lack of political will, and corruption.
Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan
- An initiative by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to eliminate TB in India by 2025.
- Objectives include improving treatment outcomes, involving communities, and leveraging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- Components include the Ni-kshay Mitra Initiative for additional support and the Ni-kshay Digital Portal for community involvement.
- WHO’s “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” initiative with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership.
- WHO releases the Global Tuberculosis Report.
- National TB Elimination Programme aims to end TB by 2025.
- National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025).
- Nikshay Ecosystem (National TB information system).
- Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY) provides financial support to TB patients.
- TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign.
- Development and clinical trials of TB vaccines VPM 1002 and MIP.
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission for digital health IDs and improved diagnostics for TB patients.