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TB in Women: Does gender matter?

Tuberculosis burden in Women **

1. Approx. 3.2 million women suffered from T.B., with 16% deaths in 2018.

2. Globally it is one of the leading infectious killer among women.

3. Close to half a million women died from TB in 2018 itself.

4. Women are more at risk of exposure while caregiving situations.

5. Stigma, barriers to access & economic inequalities results in delayed diagnosis at an advanced stage.

Who are at Risk?


1. live in poorly ventilated or dusty, urban slums

2. are exposed to individuals with tb

3. work in overcrowded environments

4. working healthcare professionals

5. are in contact with livestock

Women having LIMITED ACCESS to quality health care

1. are from tribal populations or indigenous peoples

2. homeless live in hard-to-reach areas

3. caregiver in homes for the elderly or people with disabilities

Women at INCREASED RISK due to biological or behavioral factors

1. live with hiv

2. have diabetes or silicosis

3. undergo immunosuppressive therapy

4. are undernourished

5. use tobacco

6. suffer from alcohol-use disorders

6. inject narcotics​​

General signs and symptoms?§​

1. Productive/ mucoid cough for < 3 weeks

2. Coughing up blood tinged mucous

3. Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing

4. Unintentional weight loss

5. Fatigue

6. Fever

7. Night sweats

8. Chills

9. Loss of appetite​

Impact of TB on Maternal Health**

1. It is associated with a six-fold increase in neonatal deaths before birth & two-fold risks of premature birth & low birth weight.

2. Genital TB is a fundamental cause of infertility.

3. Evidence from India found out that TB among mothers living with HIV is associated with more than double the risk of vertical transmission of HIV to the unborn child.
Way ahead#

1. Awareness of basic signs and symptoms, & prompt diagnosis, prevention & treatment is the key.

2. The low health-seeking behaviour of rural women needs extra care.

3. Encouraging community-based &/or family supervision models of the DOTS strategy for women who cannot visit treatment centres.

4. ENDING TB BY 2030: Protecting and promoting human rights, ethics, and equity is a key principle of the End TB Strategy by 2030. 

References: (**) (^^) (#)​ (§)​​​

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