India leads in TB prevalence estimation with a new mathematical model
India has developed a country-level mathematical model that estimates the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the country. The model allows for TB incidence and mortality estimate data to be available by March each year, months before the World Health Organization (WHO) releases its annual estimates in October. The model, which draws from data such as an individual’s infection and disease status, healthcare utilization, and treatment outcomes, was presented at the 36th Stop TB Partnership Board meeting in Varanasi. The Indian model estimated the TB incidence rate in India to be 196 in 2022, lower than the WHO’s estimate of 210 and suggested 3.20 lakh TB mortality absolute numbers in 2022, lower than WHO’s estimated 4.94 lakhs.
India’s Efforts to Eliminate TB: Improved Treatment and Patient Tracking
India has made significant efforts to increase the National TB Elimination Program coverage and generate more evidence. Laboratory services have been scaled up and decentralized with high-quality rapid diagnostic tests. In addition, India has introduced a daily regimen for first-line treatment of tuberculosis, integrating the regimens in the public and private sectors to ensure universal access to TB care. Patients with drug-resistant TB have been provided with injection-free, shorter, and better second-line treatment. The use of Nikshay, a tracking system for patients, has helped to improve the treatment outcomes of all types of patients in both the public and private sectors, including those who may have otherwise been lost to follow-up.
India’s TB data to be available months before WHO estimates
The Indian mathematical model is the first of its kind and will allow for TB incidence and mortality estimate data for India to be available earlier than the WHO’s annual estimates. This will enable India to take targeted measures to address the TB burden in the country. In the future, similar estimates may be prepared at the state level. The model is based on data such as an individual’s infection and disease status, healthcare utilization, and treatment outcomes. The model estimated a lower TB incidence rate and mortality absolute numbers than the WHO, highlighting the importance of country-specific estimates.
India’s efforts to increase TB elimination program coverage
India has made significant efforts over the last 9-10 years to increase the National TB Elimination Program coverage, find missing cases, and generate more evidence. Laboratory services have been scaled up and decentralized with high-quality rapid diagnostic tests such as the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test. The introduction of a daily regimen for first-line treatment of tuberculosis has helped to ensure universal access to TB care. Patients with drug-resistant TB have been provided with injection-free, shorter, and better second-line treatment. The Indian mathematical model is another step towards addressing the TB burden in the country, providing earlier estimates that can inform targeted measures to combat the disease.
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