TODAY -

Ending TB as a career choice

Ranjan K Baruah *



Each year we commemorate World TB Day to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic on 24th March around the world. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

We are aware that Tuberculosis or TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.

India has the highest burden of TB with two deaths occurring every three minutes from tuberculosis (TB). But these deaths can be prevented. With proper care and treatment, TB patients can be cured and the battle against TB can be won.

This yearís theme 'Yes! We can end TB!', aims to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new World Health Organisationís recommendations, adoption of innovations, accelerated action, and multisectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic.

TB is one of the most ancient diseases and it has been referred to in the Vedas and Ayurvedic Samhitas. In India, the first open air sanatorium for treatment and isolation of TB patients was founded in 1906 in Tiluania, near Ajmer, followed by one in Almora two years later. In 1909, the first non-missionary sanatorium was built near Shimla.

Upon the earlier work done by Dr Louis Hart from 1908, the United Mission Tuberculosis Sanatorium (UMTS) was built in 1912 at Madanapalle, south India.

Dr Frimodt Moller, the first Medical Superintendent, played a large role in Indiaís fight against TB through the training of TB workers, conducting TB surveys (1939) and introduction of BCG vaccination (1948). In addition, the first TB dispensary was opened in Bombay in 1917, followed by another in Madras. Soon anti-TB societies were formed in Lucknow and Ajmer.

Despite the brief decline in TB notifications observed in 2020 and 2021, NTEP reclaimed and achieved beyond these numbers. The year 2022 marks a milestone year for TB surveillance efforts in India, with a record high notification of 24.2 lakh cases; an increase of 13% as compared to 2021.

This translates to a case notification rate of approximately 172 cases per lakh population. The period also saw the highest private TB case notifications achieved so far, 7.3 lakhs.

From the current trend and status related to TB, we need to take more action and one may choose to work to eliminate TB from India and elsewhere. Apart from the Government, there are many other agencies working against TB which brings opportunities for aspirants to work in this area.

Different health workers and other professionals are needed. Doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and others may work. There is a need for caregivers at home which brings opportunity for skill trained aspirants like patient care assistant, general duty assistant, etc.

Apart from the academic qualification one needs to have basic employability skills so that they can be passionate and contribute towards elimination of TB from India or from the world. One may also work outside India in agencies like WHO or other international health agencies. Working together for elimination of TB or curing or TB shall be a career which would be blessed by all.


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a career mentor and skill trainer
and can be contacted at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com for any career related queries
This article was webcasted on 31 March 2023

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