Tuberculosis kills nearly 0.42 million persons (mostly poor and young), more than any other infectious disease, while nearly 2.8 Million persons acquire TB every year causing huge suffering to millions of families. India with the highest TB burden is a key player in the global quest to end Tuberculosis. India has incorporated Strategies to achieve TB elimination in its National Health Policy. It envisages Reduction in incidence of new cases, to reach elimination status by 2025 much ahead of the SDG target of 2030.
Understanding this huge challenge, India has initiated concerted efforts with Revised National TB Control Program, the private sector, civil society, communities, professional bodies and patients. However, Covid has had a devastating impact on the TB Free efforts for India. Most significantly, TB notifications have been reduced by 30%-50% in the initial stage of the pandemic and failed to reach the 2.4 million annual TB notification target for 2021. There is an urgent need to boost TB Notification, especially post-Covid.
“There is no instant solution for India’s myriad problems. But by collaborating with the governments both nationally and at state levels, and working with the government and NGOs, physicians of Indian origin can make a huge difference,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President, of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI).
Dr. Ravi was part of the closing ceremony of BOOSTING THE TB NOTIFICATION (BTN) CAMPAIGN, a training and certification program of DTO (District TB Officers) in India attended almost 370 DTOS and STO State TB Officer, organized by Drs. Manoj Jain and Salil Bhargava co-founders of CETI Collaboration to Eliminate TB in Indians, supported by USAID, Emory University and CDC etc. and discussed plans for future events.
According to Dr. Manoj Jain, “DTOs in the nation have initiated a TB Notification Campaign using the PDSA quality improvement process guided by CETI (Collaboration to Eliminate TB among Indians) and Emory University with the objectives of: Increasing notification for TB by 10% over the course of a year by implementing the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) -Quality Improvement Initiative (QII); Engaging over 500 DTOs covering all the districts in a virtual 8 week session for 1.5 hours each week; and, Providing certificate of completion from Emory University, Central TB Division, WHO, IIPH and CETI to successful DTOs.”
The Program engages Central TB Division and WHO consultants as key partners along with CETI, Emory Faculty, IIPH (Indian Institute of Public Health) staff and others. DTOs along with QIC and CETI Faculty developed a PDSA cycle with an aim statement, process measures, outcome measures, interventions, root cause analysis and run chart of the PDSA on increasing notification.
Dr. Manoj Jain, who has been part of this initiative of AAPI, since its launch, shared with AAPI leaders of the progress in involving local leaders to develop a Local Roadmap on how to make India TB Free. AAPI and USAID along with other NGOs will work together to utilize the 100,000-strong network of physicians of Indian-origin living in the United States to support health programs in India, engage AAPI’s network of private charitable clinics for TB awareness, detection and treatment, and explore opportunities for collaborations between U.S. and Indian medical schools to exchange cutting-edge health care solutions.
“AAPI in its unique way has made immense contributions to helping our motherland during the crisis and played a significant role in saving lives. TB Eradication Program by a committed team led by Dr. Manoj Jain in collaboration with USAID and now actively functioning in several states in Indi, and AAPI is honored to be part of this noble initiative and we extend our full support,” Dr. Kolli added. For more details on AAPI and its many noble programs, please visit: www.aapiusa.org. You may also watch the event on: https://youtu.be/R40BiVnjM_E.