These initiatives will be implemented by the Central TB Division
Call to Action for a TB-Free India participated at the 70th National Conference on Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases in Lucknow to bring Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, TB Association of India (TBAI) and medical specialists engaged in the care and control of TB came together to review India's efforts in the fight against tuberculosis, a fatal disease that kills over 3 lakh persons in India every year.
Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general, TB - Central TB Division, Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) announced five key initiatives to improve TB diagnosis and treatment in India under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).
"As a step towards achieving the goals outlined in the post-2015 End TB strategy, significant progress has been made by India to control TB in the country under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), covering a comprehensive spectrum of interventions from enhanced access to TB care services to optimization of available tools, ICT interventions for delivering high quality health services and combating drug resistance thereby saving lives. We are launching a number of important new initiatives- the Daily Treatment Regimen pilot in 5 states under which TB drugs will be administered in fixed doses daily, replacing the existing three times a week treatment; 300 CBNAAT machines to conduct Rapid Molecular Tests for diagnosis of Drug Resistant TB; treatment of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium TB through Bedaquiline; 3rd line antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV patients and daily DOTS regimen in HIV-TB patients; and the TB Missed Call Initiative, a helpline with a toll free number to provide information, counselling and treatment support services for TB," said Dr Khaparde.
These initiatives will be implemented by the Central TB Division, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
The government has also undertaken several other efforts to improve TB diagnosis and treatment in India- Nikshay, a web based solution for monitoring of TB patients; RNTCP modular training for state and district level program managers and trainers; and outreach campaigns for TB control in several cities. But, the incidence of TB in India is so wide and the challenges so complex that a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach is needed to reduce the burden of TB in the country.
According to the World Health Organisation's Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, TB now ranks alongside HIV as a leading cause of death worldwide. India carries the largest burden of tuberculosis with 23% of all TB cases in the world. The direct and indirect cost of TB in India stands at $23.7 billion annually1, inflicting suffering, debt and continued poverty on individuals and families.