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Health Ministry to initiate universal access to TB care

India is all set to revise its NTCP with a new objective of universal access to quality TB care.

New Delhi: Bearing the burden of one-fifth of global TB cases, India is all set to revise its National Tuberculosis Control Programme with a new objective of universal access to quality TB care.
Under universal access, all TB patients in the community, including vulnerable and marginalised persons, will have access to early, good quality diagnosis and treatment services.

The intermediate target is to detect 90 per cent of all TB cases and successfully treat 90 per cent of them by 2015, a senior health ministry official said.

The new objective of universal access will be marked by the launch of a new DOTS logo that will be in use from World TB Day tomorrow, he said.

This logo is a progression from the previous DOTS logo with the slogan (DOTS: "Sure Cure for TB"). This message has been given a logical extension and will now have a new slogan of "DOTS: Pura Course, Pakka Ilaaj" to mark the emphasis on completion of full course of treatment.

"The new slogan signifies a response to the emerging challenges regarding tuberculosis and its manifestations in the form of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and co-infection with HIV," he said.

The visual element in the old logo has been retained as it had already successfully established a connect with communities.

The RNTCP is being implemented following the WHO-recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy that provides a sure cure for tuberculosis with 6-8 months course and is available free of cost to patients in the entire country.

India`s DOTS programme is the largest in the world in terms of patients initiated on treatment, placing on an average of more than 1,25,000 patients on treatment every month.

Since its inception, the RNTCP has initiated over 12.8 million TB patients on treatment, thus saving more than 2.3 million lives.

The programme has started responding to new challenges like TB-HIV and MDR-TB. TB-HIV collaborative services were initiated in the year 2000. Currently, the entire country is implementing TB-HIV collaborative services.

The programme has initiated treatment of MDR TB since 2007 and is currently being implemented in 12 states. RNTCP has prioritised MDR-TB treatment services and these will be available in the entire country by end-2011.

The diagnosis of MDR-TB is a laboratory based diagnosis to be conducted at specialised accredited laboratories.