What is RNTCP?
Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) is the state-run tuberculosis (TB) control initiative of the Government of India (GoI).
As per the National Strategic Plan 2012–17, the program has a vision of achieving a “TB free India”, and aims to achieve Universal Access to TB control services.
-> RNTCP provides various free of cost, quality tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment services across the country through the government health system.
-> The program uses the WHO recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy and reaches over a billion people in 632 districts/reporting units of India.
-> Pursue quality DOTS expansion and enhancement, by improving the case finding and cure through an effective patient-centered approach to reach all patients, especially the poor.
-> Contribute to health system strengthening, by collaborating with other health programmes and general services.
-> Enable and promote research for the development of new drugs, diagnostic and vaccines. Operational Research will also be needed to improve programmes performance.
-> Engage people with TB, and affected communities to demand, and contribute to effective care.
Loopholes in the program:
-> Though the RNTCP has treated 10 million patients, the rate of decline has been slow.
-> Lack of funding resulting in Lack of Infrastructure (like lack of facilities, medicine availability etc.).
-> RNTCP failed on universal access to early diagnosis and treatment and improving case detection.
-> Also, India is far from reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, i.e. reducing the number of deaths by 90% and TB incidence by 80% compared with 2015.
-> Explore the causes for the increased number of the extra pulmonary cases.
-> Reorientation trainings/refresher courses need to be started for the medical officers and other para medical staff.
-> Providing required funding through budgetary support.
-> PPP participation by including private medical services & hospitals.
-> NIKSHAY, the web based reporting for TB programmes initiated in 2012, should be promoted.
-> Working under Detect-Treat-Prevent-Build mechanism to tackle this menace more effectively.
-> Patient should be counseled about the importance of directly observed treatment and to avoid the social stigma and humiliation, DOTS should be provided at home by health providers, like multiple health workers / Anganwari workers/village health guides.
Today India’s TB control program needs to be updated with the international TB guidelines as well as provide an optimal anti TB treatment to the patients enrolled under it or it will land up being another factor in the genesis of drug resistant tuberculosis.