Stop TB Partnership

RNTCP National Review Meeting

Monitoring Progress towards India’s TB Care and Control Goals

08 October 2015 - The latest review meeting was held in Nagpur, Maharashtra from 14 to 16 September 2015. The National Review Meeting of India’s Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) is a biannual feature, where State Programme Officers from States and Union Territories participate to review and discuss progress towards TB care and control targets in their respective regions.

The inaugural session was unveiled by the Union Cabinet Minister of Road Transport and Shipping Shri Nitin Gadkari in the presence numerous dignitaries including the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Jagdish Prasad, Member of Parliament (MP) Mr. Krupal Tumane, eminent experts, political leaders and mediapersons. The presence of senior central, state and civic body officials including, Mission Director-National Health Mission for the State of Maharashtra Mrs. I. A. Kundan and Additional Municipal Commissioner-Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Mr. Sanjay Deshmukh demonstrated a high level of administrative commitment from the State towards TB control efforts.

As the meeting was organized in Maharashtra, the State utilized the opportunity to launch two ambitious projects for strengthening TB care and control services in the State, namely the Universal Access to Tuberculosis Care (UATBC) and TB diagnosis using cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT) in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. As part of UATBC, free anti-TB (ATT) drugs are provided to patients seeking healthcare from the private sector. The project seeks to engage with private practitioners in treating TB patients and providing free of cost drugs to patients. This project has already been implemented in cities like Patna in Bihar, Mehsana in Gujarat and Mumbai in Maharashtra. A component called '99 DOTS’ has been introduced for patients taking treatment under the programme. The treatment adherence of 99 percent patients would be monitored using this ICT-enabled solution; the blister packs list numbers concealed behind the medicines and this number series is dialled-in by the patient to a toll free helpdesk to register completion of that particular dose of medication; if this call from the patient does not come within a stipulated timeframe, then reminders are sent to the patient, which if unheeded is followed-up by a visit from the DOT Provider or the health worker for necessary support.

The National Review Meeting was preceded by month-long preparations to design meaningful and comprehensive review of States, based on their strength and weaknesses in specific thematic areas and as per their performance against the National Strategic Plan 2012-17, which serves as guidance document for India’s National TB Programme, setting out goals and expectations.

The National-level updates on TB control activities were shared by Dr. Sunil Khaparde, Deputy Director General-TB, Central Tuberculosis Division (CTD) and global updates were shared by Dr. Sreenivas A Nair, National Professional Officer, World Health Organisation (WHO). The DGHS interacted with State representatives to understand their issues and concerns. Dr. Jagdish Prasad emphasized on the need to address social aspects of TB care, undernutrition being one of them, through community participation. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Sunil Khaparde, DDG-TB, CTD that it is important to share best practices and challenges alike, so that good strategies could be replicated and we all learn from each other’s mistakes. He also emphasised on aligning practices such as Programmatic Financial Management System for better operational efficiency and seamless delivery of services.

The thematic sessions were preceded by analytical presentations from the CTD on trends, issues observed and way forward. The issues and challenges discussed ranged from finance, case finding, case holding, Drugs and Logistics, Surveillance, Monitoring & Evaluation, Human Resources, Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM), Partnerships etc. The States shared bottlenecks and discussed corrective actions to address these with the Central TB Division (CTD). The meeting offered a good platform wherein various technical and implementing partners shared details of their work. The review provided directions to all stakeholders to work collectively in overcoming the challenges of TB control and care.