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Introduction: Tuberculosis continues to be a global threat to humankind. Every year, more than a million deaths occur across the globe due to this disease. The Global plan to eradicate and eliminate tuberculosis took off very well with the launch of the End-Tuberculosis campaign until the COVID-19 pandemic created a severe dent in the efforts to achieve a tuberculosis-free-world by 2030.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: Health professionals and the health care support team suffered a major setback in reaching out to patients due to various restrictions imposed on them during this pandemic period. Patients found it difficult to reach out to the health care team, owing largely to the fear factor and also due to inaccessibility to health care services. The delay in tuberculosis notifications, the emergence of drug-resistant strains and restrictions in the supply chain further added to the difficulties faced.
Government efforts: India is a nation with one of the largest numbers of tuberculosis victims. The strategic measures taken by the Government of India took a sudden jolt with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tuberculosis elimination measures reverted to tuberculosis containment measures. Various African countries recorded a massive fall out of more than 75% during the various lockdown measures imposed. However, India took collateral measures to combat this setback. Its National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme involved private players to combat the tuberculosis epidemic, recruited Patient-provider support agencies and actively engaged Private Sectors through innovative patient-provider incentives to bring down numbers of the tuberculosis victims.
Changing trends in diagnostics: The diagnostic methods that took about 4 to 6 weeks to confirm the diagnosis of tuberculosis had earlier put the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis into the back seat. However, recent innovations in molecular biology, immunology and genomic sequencing techniques have greatly aided an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis. One individual, one health agency or one Government cannot achieve tuberculosis elimination by 2030. A global effort is the basic pre-requisite, incorporating advanced molecular diagnosis and appropriate treatment would ensure achieving a tuberculosis-free world by 2030.
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