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Tackling TB In India Requires Both Public, Private Sector Engagement

The Hindu: Fighting India’s silent epidemic
Soumya Swaminathan, director of the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis in Chennai, and Chapal Mehra, New Delhi-based writer

“Over 60 percent of all Indians seek health care in the private sector, according to India’s last National Family Health Survey. … Even though parallel providers of health services, the absence of partnerships between the public and private sector has disastrous implications for patients and for disease control. A striking case study is that of TB. … In 2013, the World Health Organization identified three million missing TB cases globally of which one million were in India. These one million missing cases fall somewhere between the public and the private sector and lack access to free care. If India wishes to end its TB crisis, we must begin by providing prompt diagnosis and treatment to our missing million. Yet this is unlikely to happen unless we transform our current TB program while simultaneously engaging the vast private sector. If we do not act now, our inaction will make us responsible for continued suffering of patients and deaths” (10/13).