Overcoming tuberculosis stigma, a key factor in preventing community transmission


Tuberculosis: The number of tuberculosis sufferers in India is the largest in the world, and the government of India wants to completely eradicate the illness by 2025. The government’s Revised National TB Control Programme has prioritised the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. Based on the successes of the last National Strategic Planning, the NSP 2017–2025 has taken on the audacious goal of eliminating tuberculosis.

Stigma, a social determinant of health

Due to the persistent stigma associated with tuberculosis, care delivery is frequently jeopardised. Stigma, a social determinant of health, leads to delayed care-seeking behaviour, delayed diagnosis, or poor anti-tuberculosis treatment adherence. An investigation into community attitudes about tuberculosis patients in 30 Indian districts revealed, according to an article in the journal Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, that 73% of respondents had a stigmatising attitude towards those who have the disease.

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More than 50% of tuberculosis patients encounter stigma after being diagnosed

The study found that stigma-fueled delays in care-seeking and delayed diagnoses increase the size of the tuberculosis infected pool, increasing the risk of transmission through home contacts and community transmission. Hence, one of the keys to preventing the spread of tuberculosis is to combat stigma. According to the study, which cited a survey, more than 50% of tuberculosis patients encounter stigma after being diagnosed. Pre-treatment loss to follow-up, or the dropout of patients after diagnosis but before treatment registration, is predicted to occur in the national tuberculosis programme in India on an annual basis in excess of 200,000 patients, according to another study. There is a large gap in tuberculosis treatment both in India and around the world.

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