India’s tuberculosis plan sets ambitious targets for next five years

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 24 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2659
  1. Tamoghna Biswas
  1. 1Kolkata

The Indian government has set a target of detecting and treating 8.7 million people with tuberculosis between 2012 and 2017 and 200 000 people with multidrug resistant tuberculosis.

The targets are outlined in the annual report of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).1 The report has as its theme “universal access for quality diagnosis and treatment for all TB patients in the community.” It emphasises “reaching the unreached” and aims to increase access especially among marginalised and vulnerable groups. It also proposes to cover patients with tuberculosis in the private healthcare sector under RNTCP services.

India has the largest burden of tuberculosis in the world, with an estimated annual incidence of 2.3 million cases. RNTCP is the country’s flagship programme for tuberculosis control and extends across 35 states and union territories.

The plan to 2017 aims at early detection and treatment of 90% of all cases of tuberculosis, including drug resistant cases and patients with tuberculosis and HIV, and reduction of the proportion of patients defaulting on treatment to less than 5% among new cases and less than 10% among retreatment cases.

The report highlights the achievements of the RNTCP in the past year, including a case detection rate (new smear test positive cases) of 68% and a treatment success rate of 88%. Last year also saw several landmark events in tuberculosis control, the report says, such as the declaration of tuberculosis as a notifiable disease, the launch of a case based internet application (called Nikshay) to improve reporting and surveillance, and a ban on commercial serodiagnostic kits for tuberculosis.

A “rapid scale up of the Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB services” was also undertaken in view of the emerging threat of drug-resistant tuberculosis and guidelines for treatment of paediatric tuberculosis were updated in 2012 in the light of current evidence.

The programme will also phase in screening of all patients presumed to have TB for HIV and, starting with high HIV prevalence states and districts.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2659