The Delhi End tuberculosis (End-TB) summit held recently was a watershed moment in the history of the disease. Prime Minister Narendra Modi affirmed a national commitment to rid India of tuberculosis by 2025.
The TB crisis
- India has the highest number of TB cases globally, according to the World Health Organization’s 2017 report, and is also among the top five countries that report the highest multi drug resistant cases.
- Over the past year, there were more than 1 million TB cases reported across India, according to health ministry data.
- The TB crisis is symptomatic of the general challenges in our health system. Prevention, successful diagnosis, and treatment of diseases are dependent upon an efficient and comprehensive system that ensures environmental improvement and that no person is missed when attention and care are needed.
- For its success, the End-TB campaign needs to have strong linkages with the Swasthya Bharat and Swachh Bharat missions.
National Strategic Plan
- A sustained commitment is stated and outcome indicators have been well-developed.
- Under the plan, every TB patient will have access to free diagnosis and treatment irrespective of whether they seek care in the public or private sector.
- Private providers will be given milestone-based incentives to ensure the appropriate treatment of patients.
- In order to meet a patient’s nutritional needs, the government will provide every patient Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment.
- Vigorous active case-finding efforts that target vulnerable populations, universal drug susceptibility testing through the establishment of DNA-based machines in every district, and periodic monitoring of the programme’s performance indicators at the state level.
- Ambitiously, the plan also proposes preventing resurfacing of active TB among those latently infected.
What more to be done to Accomplishing the 2025 target:
- Addressing existing gaps
- Procurement and supply chain management must be streamlined to ensure that patients have regular access to essential drugs and diagnostics
- cost-effective and transparent procurement systems
- Innovative strategies to address the shortage of healthcare workers such as performance based incentives, public-private partnerships and training programmes to improve the management skills of programme staff will enhance the quality of services given to TB patients.
- Social acceptance and community acceptance of the need for screening and care-delivery