Jaipur, August 28, 2019.

The number of tuberculosis (TB) cases notified in Rajasthan has increased by 45% from 1.05 lakh in 2017 to 1.6 lakhs in 2018, the State TB Officer, Dr. Vinod Garg informed while addressing the media at a sensitization workshop in Jaipur. He attributed this increase to greater engagement with the private sector healthcare providers and active case finding efforts in the state.

 Recognizing the public health challenge posed by TB, the Government of India declared that India will eliminate TB by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals target. To accomplish this goal, the government announced the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination.  

Dr. Garg highlighted the need to create awareness about the recent initiatives of the TB program, including the recently launched Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY), a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for TB patients. Under the scheme, each patient receives Rs. 500 every month for the entire duration of treatment. From April 1, 2018 – August 19, 2019, more than 1,58,251 patients have received the benefits under the scheme in Rajasthan. Dr. Garg also informed that over 1 lakh SMSs were sent to patients in May 2019 to encourage them to be part of the NPY, which was rolled out in April 2018.  

Last year, the Government of India launched the Joint Effort for Elimination of TB or JEET program to engage private providers to encourage them to report TB cases to the government and improve treatment outcomes. Dr Trushar Parmar, a representative from an NGO, William J. Clinton Foundation highlighted that the JEET program is being implemented in over 23 districts of the state. Greater outreach and engagement with the private sector in Rajasthan has resulted in a significant increase in the notifications from the sector. He further highlighted the plan to expand private sector engagement programs across the state.

Notifications from private sector health care providers in the state have improved significantly, and around 28.8% of total TB cases (46,196 out of 1,60,168) in 2018 were notified by the private sector as compared to 19.9% in 2017. With greater notification of TB patients by private providers (doctors, chemists, diagnostic labs), and greater treatment reporting by private doctors, the government can monitor the treatment outcomes among privately-treated patients and ensure their completion.

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