Kolkata, 13 July 2017: After achieving significant success in controlling vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue in its 144 wards, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has shifted its focus on improving Tuberculosis (TB) outcomes in the city.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB incidence in Kolkata stands at 10,001 each year, where 1,761 lives are lost every year due to the disease. This means that an average of five people succumb to TB in the city every day. Today, KMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tuberculosis Health Action Learning Initiative (THALI), a project funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen TB-control in the city.
The MoU recognizes THALI as ‘strategic partner’ to the KMC in its efforts to improve rollout of the Central Government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP).
“We welcome the involvement of THALI as a strategic partner in our fight against TB and together, we hope to reach every nook and cranny across the ten TB districts of the city. We are confidentthat this strategic partnership will improve case notification rates as well as better final treatment outcomes in TB,” said Atin Ghosh, Member, Mayor-in-Council (Health), after signing the MoU.
The THALI project’s main aim is to improve private-sector notification to the government, ensure TB treatment adherence among patients, introduce innovative solutions to TB care and increase awareness about TB across demographics in the city.
“Our main goals are to significantly increase TB detection and case notification and ensure that patients complete their course of medication, thereby lowering the risk of drug-resistant TB. Within our four-year project lifespan, we hope to create a sustainable and scalable delivery model that can continue even after we exit,” explained Milan Dinda, Project Director, THALI.
In India, one person dies of TB every minute. India bears 27% of the world’s TB burden, making one in every four TB patients worldwide an Indian. 7,500 Indians develop TB every day. The problem is too grim to ignore.
Bengalhas one of the poorest case notification rates in the country, indicating a major lack of engagement by private doctors in ensuring treatment adherence and completion.A recent study in TheLancetcorroborates this, stating that “an unregulated and fragmented private sector health system” contributes only 19% of all of India’s case notifications.
According to the Government of India, in 2016 Bengal was fifth-lowest in private-sector notification TB cases to the government. Levels of tobacco usage and malnutrition, both major contributors to the spread of TB, are high in the region, indicating that the state is a prime breeding ground for the disease.
“Our collaboration with THALI will help in facilitating early and accurate diagnosis of TB among the urban poor in the private sector, notifying cases diagnosed and treated in the private sector, ensuring appropriate treatment of cases as per Standards for TB Care in India and, most critically, monitoring adherence to improve cure rates of TB patients treated in the private sector,” added Dr. T.K. Mukherjee, Honorary Adviser (Health), KMFor further information, please contact: Candid Communication Pallabi Chakraborty – 8697727264/ Riya Singh- 8697727263 firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com