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Government Allot More Funds for Revised TB Program

New Delhi: India witnesses nearly 1.8 million tuberculosis cases every year and to tackle the health menace the government// has cleared Rs. 11.56 billion for the Revised National Tuberculosis Program (RNTCP)-Phase II.

As per government estimates, nearly 40 percent of the population is infected with TB bacillus but only 10 percent break down to full-blown disease in their lifetime, Minister of State for Health P. Lakshmi said Friday.

"The RNTCP Phase-II of the World Bank Project has been approved by the government for the period October 2006 to September 2011 for a total outlay of Rs. 11.56 billion. This includes credit of Rs. 7.65 billion from the World Bank and a grant of Rs. 1.99 billion for commodity assistance of anti-TB drugs from the Department of International Development (DFID)," Lakshmi informed Rajya Sabha.

She said the RNTCP, popularly known as DOTS program, was introduced in the country in 1997 in a phased manner with an objective to achieve a cure rate of 85 percent of new sputum positive cases and to detect at least 70 percent of such cases. The entire country was covered by March 2006.

Till date, 6.7 million patients have received DOTS treatment averting more than 1.22 million deaths.

"In 2006 alone, 1.4 million cases were placed under DOTS, more than in any country in a single year. The overall performance of RNTCP has been excellent with cure completion rate consistently above 85 percent and death rate reduced to less than 5 percent," the minister said.

"The second phase of RNTCP will consolidate, maintain and further improve the achievements of first phase," she added.

Under the second phase, the government would strive for implementation of DOTS-Plus for multi-drug resistant TB in a much broader way. Procurement and distribution of paediatric drug boxes for improved care of children will also start soon.

The program would also encourage participation of NGOs, private and corporate sectors to avail standardized treatment to TB patients. It would also collaborate with National Aids Control Organization (NACO) to treat TB among HIV positive patients, she added.

Source-IANS
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