Indian government's poor response may hamper Revised National TB Program

KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 23: Amidst the growing number of tuberculosis (TB) case findings in the State (Nagaland), the poor response from the government is becoming a cause of concern as it could hamper the programmes undertaken by the Revised National Tuberculosis Programme (RNTCP).

This issue was raised by the members of Nagaland Users’ Network (NUN) during a press conference held at Kohima Press Club (KPC) conference hall here on Wednesday (November 23).

Addressing the media, Ketho Angami, member of the Global TB Community Advisory Board (TB CAB), stated that the NUN in its brief experience of working in the field of TB in the State has come across various issues and challenges which could defeat the whole purpose of RNTCP.

He slammed both the State Government and the Centre for the delay in sanction of funds, adding that this is directly hampering the activities of the RNTCP.

Bringing to light that the TB burden in India is much more as compared to HIV and Hepatitis, he underscored the need to address the issue seriously and aggressively. “The funding should be consistent in order to affectively carry out the TB programmes,” he said maintaining that there is an urgent need to reach out to the affected TB patients in the State.

He also made an ardent plea for active participation of the civil society in the effort to implement quality TB programmes. “Community ownership will immensely contribute towards a qualitative intervention,” he remarked.

“The RNTCP needs to look at the involvement of the civil society in terms of designing and strategizing, so that qualitative TB programmes can be carried out to its fullest,” he added.

He further informed that the NUN organised a consultative workshop on November 22 with PNGOs in order to develop a forward plan in tackling TB in the State.

It was during the workshop, some key concerns were raised, wherein the members stressed the need to educate the people of rural areas as this is found to be lacking in the current programme. The meeting proposed the need to conduct a survey to understand whether the general public are well informed on TB awareness.

The need for the churches to take ownership in creating knowledge and awareness about TB was also proposed, with the hope that the involvement of the church would bring about a positive impact and a drastic change towards the implementation of the TB programmes.

The RNTCP was set up in the State in 2001 and accordingly since its inception, TB centres had been created in all the 11 districts. At present, there are 44 designated microscopic centres (DMCs), 929 directly observed treatment centres and two drug resistance TB centres in Mokokchung and at Khuzama under Kohima district.

It was also informed that the State had received six CBNAAT machines, meant for TB diagnosis, in the districts of Kohima, Zunheboto, Mon, Tuensang, Mokokchung and Dimapur. However, the CBNAAT machines couldn’t be installed due to poor infrastructure. To this, the NUN has asked the government to install CBNAAT machine in Tuensang as it is a high prevalent TB district.

It was further informed that most of the DMCs in the State are non functional, especially in the rural areas where these are attached to PHCs or CHCs which can contribute towards the increase of TB prevalent cases in the State.

It was just on June 10 and August 23 this year, the NUN and the NNP+ had jointly written to the Principal Director of Health and Family Welfare and the Programme Officer (HIV/TB) NACO, Dept. of Health & Family Welfare, New Delhi demanding for implementation of IPT (Isoniazid Preventive Therapy) for PLHIV/TB in the State. However, it was informed that the department concerned is yet to fulfill their proposal.

CCM member, Abou Mere, who is also the director of KRIPA Foundation, hit out at the State government for not being proactive to the TB programmes.

He revealed the statistics that 9.6 million new cases of TB are reported every year. And out of this, he said, one third of the affected patients are not treated or diagnosed.

On Global Fund, while informing that India is the second largest recipient next to Nigeria, he regretted that many sanctioned funds do not reach the State.

KNP+ President Yhuni Kesen also addressed the press conference while HIV-TB coordinator Vihaan (NNP+) Visevinuo Khrieo was also in attendance among others.

Source: Eastern Mirror

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By Eastern Mirror

Published: Nov. 24, 2016, 5:34 p.m.

Last updated: Nov. 24, 2016, 6:39 p.m.

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