National TB programme to be made more inclusive

With a new slogan, health ministry wants to provide universal quality TB care


Sonal Matharu | March 23, 2011

On world Tuberculosis day on Wednesday, the health ministry has announced that it would revise the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTCP) with an objective to provide universal access to quality care to all TB patients.

The aim is to include marginalised and vulnerable TB patients in any community so that timely diagnosis and good quality treatment can be given to them. The target is to detect 90 percent of TB cases and treat all of them by 2015.

New slogan for directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS) will also be in use from March 24, 2011. The slogan ‘sure cure for TB’ has been changed to ‘DOTS: pura course, pakka ilaaj’. However, the picture in the logo will remain the same as people now associate it with TB treatment, says a note by the health ministry.

The ongoing Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has 12.8 million patients on treatment and it has saved over 2.3 million lives. TB-HIV collaborative programmes are also covered under the RNTCP since 2000. The programme also started treatment for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2007. MDR-TB is the second stage of TB where the first-line drugs to treat the disease are not effective.

Treatment for MDR-TB is available in 12 states. This service will be available in all states by the end of 2011, says the note.

Under the revised programme, the health ministry has also proposed to set up 43 specialised accredited laboratories across the country to test MDR-TB. Till date India has 25 such laboratories.

With these initiatives the health ministry wants to spread the message that people should continue the treatment that lasts for six to eight months and do not drop out in the middle of the medicine course. This would prevent TB patients from slipping into more complex forms of the disease like MDR-TB and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). 



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