Tuberculosis claimed 1390 lives in Uttarakhand in four years, finds RTI query

By Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Close to 1390 persons lost their lives to tuberculosis between 2015-2018 in the hill state, revealed data from the Uttarakhand health department. 

The numbers were a result of the RTI query filed by a lawyer, following which he submitted the data along with a complaint to the Uttarakhand Human Rights Commission. 

“After I got the data, I filed a complaint with the commission about the deaths. Tuberculosis is no longer incurable and these deaths could have been averted. Somewhere, the government lacked,” said Rajendra Prasad the lawyer.

The commission has issued a notice to the state health department officials seeking an explanation for the death of these people. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for November 25, 2021.

The highest number of deaths in these four years took place in Haridwar with 260 people losing their lives to TB followed by Dehradun (210), Udham Singh Nagar (194), Nainital (161), Pauri (110), Chamoli (109), Tehri (76), Almora (64), Bageshwar (53), Pithoragarh (48), Champawat (41), Rudraprayag (34) and Uttarkashi (30). 

According to the data published in TB India Report 2018, more than 45 cases of TB were registered every day in Uttarakhand in 2017. The number of cases had increased by 10% in 2017 compared to the previous year. As many as 16,760 cases were registered in 2017, up by 1,679 from the 15,081 cases that were registered in 2016.

A total of 13,012 cases were reported from government hospitals while 3,748 cases were reported from private clinics and hospitals. 

In a notification on March 16, 2018, the Centre had made it mandatory for all chemists and hospitals to reveal details of TB patients, including the medication taken by them, to the health department. Those failing to do so could face a jail term up to two years with or without a fine. The move was meant to push more private hospitals to contain the disease, of which India has the maximum number of patients.