India, the world's tuberculosis epicenter

  • The Vicente Ferrer Foundation warns about an increase in multidrug‑resistant tuberculosis cases in India
  • In 2011 and 2012, the Foundation assisted over 3,000 patients and its hospital has become the benchmark in South India

Sent by VFF on Monday 03/25/2013 - 15:30.

Barcelona, March 23, 2013 - One in four people with tuberculosis lives in India, making this country the epicenter of the disease with the highest number of sufferers in the world. The increased resistance of tuberculosis bacteria to antibiotics is becoming a public health problem. In 2011, 64,000 people in India infected with multidrug‑resistant tuberculosis were detected, which means that patients do not respond to treatment with first‑line antibiotics. In addition, another 36 cases also resistant to second line treatments were discovered. In the Bathalapalli General Hospital that the Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) has in southern Andhra Pradesh, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has increased from 3% to 5% in the last year.

Detecting antibiotic resistance
Andhra Pradesh is the second state in India with the largest number of infected people, with 77,730 new cases in 2011, second only to Uttar Pradesh. The Vicente Ferrer Foundation is fighting this disease for more than 40 years, through the network of hospitals and rural clinics in the organization. In 2011, this struggle was reinforced with the construction of two specific wards for these patients' care within the Department of Infectious Diseases, the inauguration of a new specialized laboratory, and a new test to detect tuberculosis and its resistance level in just two hours.

“Having a quick diagnosis and determining the degree of antibiotic resistance is key to the treatment of tuberculosis. With the new test, patients do not have to wait three to six weeks to obtain culture results”, stated Dr. Gerardo Alvarez‑Uria, Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Bathallapali General Hospital. “A time too long for patients who could die without proper treatment, in addition to spreading the disease that is easily transmitted in the air”, he added. The VFF fully assumes the cost of the test and the antibiotic treatment, through working together with the Government.

The number of patients who come to the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Foundation has exponentially grown in recent years. In 2011 and 2012 more than 3,000 people were assisted, and this figure is expected to further increase in 2013. Thus, the VFF Center has become the reference hospital in the south of the state.

An accessible test for India
The microbiology laboratory of the VFF is one of the 27 centers in India that offers this quick test, promoted by WHO in the Southern countries. Thanks to the "Initiative for promoting affordable, quality TB tests" these laboratories have just signed an agreement with several international organizations such as the Clinton Foundation and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, to lower and unify the price of the diagnostic test.


For more information:
- Josep Giralt, Head of Communications
608 219 004

- Marta Espasa, Communications Technician
669 793 601



About the Vicente Ferrer Foundation:
The Vicente Ferrer Foundation (VFF) is a NGDO committed to the transformation of the poorest areas of Andhra Pradesh, Southeast India, and some of the most excluded communities around the globe, such as the Dalits or untouchables, tribals and backward castes. Currently, VFF work reaches 3,110 villages, benefiting over two and half million people.


News - What‘s happening?

Anne Ferrer, who has been working as a social worker in rural parts of Andhra Pradesh, received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award 2015 for her contribution in the field of development and welfare of Women and Children in India.
The telephone rings. It is the 1,098 time the VFF staff in India answer the urgent needs of the community using the anonymous help line. 24 hours, 7 days a week urgent calls of a wide variety come in and much needed support is given immediately.