Tuberculosis in India

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1080 (Published 23 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1080
  1. Zarir F Udwadia, consultant physician, P D Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mumbai, India,
  2. Chapal Mehra, public health specialist, New Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to: zfu{at}hindujahospital.com

An ancient enemy just gets stronger

Twenty years ago it was widely believed that India was successfully on its way to controlling its alarming tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. The country’s massive scale-up and implementation of directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) therapy under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) was lauded internationally as a global model of excellence.

Yet this represented only half of the story of TB in India. A terrifying picture of the death, devastation, poverty, and suffering caused by TB began to emerge almost two decades later, when it became apparent that TB in India was not just a national crisis but a global one. Each year India has 2.2 million new cases, more than 300 000 deaths, and economic losses of $23bn (£14.9bn; €20.3bn) from TB,1 making it India’s biggest health crisis.

At …

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