TB/HIV Prevention Project evaluated by EHI in Bhubaneshwar
The burden of MTB/TB and HIV/AIDS pose unprecedented challenges on the public health system in India. Globally, India has the highest burden of TB and the number of HIV-infected people estimated in India is second highest after South Africa. In addition to morbidity and mortality, the two diseases cause substantial economic and social burden on the nation. TB and HIV are overlapping epidemics. The HIV pandemic presents a massive challenge to the control of TB at all levels. People living with HIV have increased susceptibility to active tuberculosis, and HIV infection is the greatest risk factor worldwide for tuberculosis disease. TB is also one of the most common causes of morbidity and one of the leading causes of mortality in people living with HIV/AIDS.
In recent years, India has witnessed rapid expansion of the DOTS strategy for TB control and scaling up of interventions to combat HIV/AIDS, including access for treatment with antiretroviral drugs. With the establishment of new mechanisms of funding like the Global Funds for AIDS, TB and Malaria, financing of interventions against MTB/HIV is no longer an issue. Additionally, over the last few years, considerable experience has been gained on TB and HIV programme coordination, as well as individual patient care. Progress in improving HIV/MTB coordination and linkages in service delivery will contribute greatly to achieving these goals.
One such initiative of addressing TB and HIV together has been taken by the LEPRA UK in India to strengthen health systems and reduce tribal vulnerability to TB and HIV/AIDS in 16 blocks of Koraput, Malkangiri and Raygada districts of Odisha. The society ran a project locally named as Sahyog for the past 4 years where they were mainly involved in increasing the coverage of Revised National Tuberculosis Programme.
This study was evaluated by EHI. It involved conducting discussions with the community members with the objective of studying the perceptions and practices among the program beneficiaries regarding TB, its prevention, control and treatment. The care providers and the opinion leaders were interviewed to understand their perception about the programme. The best practices were also mapped and an exit strategy was formulated to mark the end of the programme in the state.