Washington: The US has invested nearly USD 100 million to prevent and control Tuberculosis in India over the last 18 years, but the dreaded disease continues to be a leading cause of death in the country, officials said today.
"Working with the Government of India and Indian partners, the US has invested close to USD 100 million to prevent and control TB (Tuberculosis) in India, and has helped treat over 15 million people over the last 18 years," United States Agency for International Development (USAID), responsible for administering civilian foreign aid, said.
"The progress is real. Millions of lives have been saved, and we have seen dramatic improvements in diagnosis and care. But the challenge to end TB in India remains. Despite a strong national TB control program, TB continues to be a leading cause of death in India," USAID said, adding that the US will remain a sustained, committed partner, supporting India along the path toward ending TB.
India carries the highest burden of TB in the world, an estimated 2.2 million new cases. A staggering 220,000 deaths are reported annually. More than 110,000 people are co- infected with HIV/AIDS and TB, it said.
A USD 22.5-million program, Tuberculosis Health Action Learning Initiative (THALI), will be initiated by USAID to complement the Revised National TB Control Program by engaging municipal governments and private providers to prevent, test and treat TB in select cities in India, a media report said.
It will help urban slum communities by strengthening the capacity of private providers to follow global standards for TB care, diagnosis and treatment and by testing and scaling innovations that improve treatment adherence, it said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work closely with India to develop national trainings for airborne infection control and improve infection control in HIV treatment centres.
The CDC also supports counsellors to provide education and social support to MDR-TB patients to ensure treatment completion and cure. It will also work closely with India to develop national trainings for airborne infection control and improve airborne infection control in HIV treatment centres.
Further in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Office of AIDS Research/ National Institute of Health (NIH), the Indian Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Medical Research, the NIH has established RePORT India (Regional Prospective Observational Cohort) which is a multinational collaborative effort designed to advance TB science in India.
The consortium consists of five distinct TB cohorts in South India working in collaboration with US universities to address a wide array of scientific objectives and to institute a common prospective observational research protocol that is supported by a central repository, a central data management centre, utilisation of harmonised data elements, and specimen collection standard operating protocols.