24th March every year  is observed as the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day to spread awareness about the disease and how best to combat it.



GS-02 (Health)


Facts for Prelims:

  • India’s target for TB elimination is by 2025.
  • Global Target for TB elimination is 2030.
  • Theme for 2023 was: Yes! We can end TB!
  • Dr. Robert Koch’s was the one who announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is responsible for TB.
  • WHO also releases the Global Tuberculosis Report.


Mains Question:

Discuss the global impact of tuberculosis. What are the measures undertaken by India to combat this ancient disease. (250 words)


Dimensions of the Article:

  • What is TB?
  • Understanding TB
  • Global Impact
  • BCG vaccine
  • Related Initiatives and Way Forward


What is TB?

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial infection.
  • It mainly affects lungs but also has potential to impact other parts of the body.
    • It primarily affects the lungs(Pulmonary TB).
    • It can also affect other organs too (extra-Pulmonary TB).
  • It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • TB spreads through air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Symptoms: Persistent cough, chest pain, weight loss, and fatigue.


Understanding TB:

  • It is an ancient disease that traces back that affects millions worldwide.
  • The earliest written records of TB date back 3,300 years in India and 2,300 years ago in China. Hence, it must be viewed not only as a medical issue but also as a social, economic, and gendered challenge.


Global Impact:

  • TB is a global health concern with India itself reporting a high burden.
  • 1.8 million TB cases were reported in 2019 in India (One of the top countries with high TB burden).
  • However, the number of tuberculosis patients fell marginally to 2.23 million in 2023, from 2.42 million in 2022.
  • MultiDrug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) raises another daunting challenge to TB control efforts.
    • MDR-TB is a variant of tuberculosis.
    • It is immune to the two primary first-line medications for TB treatment.
    • XDR-TB- is a type of tuberculosis caused by bacteria resistant to multiple potent anti-TB drugs.
  • The BCG vaccine, developed in the early 20th century, is used worldwide to prevent TB.


BCG Vaccine:

  • BCG, or bacille Calmette-Guerin, is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) disease.
  •  It is named after its inventors Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin.
  • BCG also has some effectiveness against Buruli ulcer infection and other nontuberculous mycobacterial infections.
  • It is sometimes used as part of the treatment of bladder cancer as well.
  • The BCG vaccine was first used medically in 1921.
  • It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.


Related Initiatives and Way Forward:

  • The WHO has launched initiatives like “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” to tackle TB globally.
  • India has implemented the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Elimination and launched campaigns like “TB Harega Desh Jeetega”.
  • Ongoing research is focused on developing new vaccines and treatment options for TB.
  • India must also prioritise person-centred care, address social determinants of health, and embrace innovation to eliminate TB.