Global Fund approves TB funding for government and civil society led proposal in India

December 7th, 2009 - 8:29 pm ICT by admin  

A defining moment in the history of tuberculosis control in India

A proposal that will launch a massive effort to address two of the main challenges to tuberculosis (TB) control in India has been approved for Round 9 funding by the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). The grant is by far the largest ever made to TB control in India, the country which bears the highest TB burden and also has highest estimated incidence of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the world.

The proposal submitted by the Government of India in partnership with civil society has three principal recipients – the Government’s Central TB Division, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and World Vision India – who will be responsible for implementing the five-year project.

“We’re very pleased to learn of the success of this proposal”, said Dr Nils E Billo, Executive Director of The Union. “In particular, the strengthening of civil society participation demonstrates the new awareness that health systems alone can not solve problems like TB control. Broader social commitment is required”.

The first component of the project will focus on providing universal access to MDR-TB diagnosis and treatment. It will establish and scale-up capacity for quality-assured rapid diagnosis of MDR-TB in 43 referral laboratories in India by 2015. In addition, it seeks to scale up care and management of MDR-TB across India in its 35 states and territories resulting in the treatment of 55,350 additional MDR-TB cases by 2015.

The second component seeks to strengthen civil society involvement in TB care and control to improve the reach, visibility and effectiveness of India’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNCTP) in 374 districts across 23 states, reaching about 744 million people by 2015.

While India has already made great strides in providing access to basic ‘DOTS’ (the globally recognised strategy for TB control), this project will provide better access to TB services, especially in geographically difficult areas, vulnerable communities and tribal populations.

Additionally, RNTCP will be supported and strengthened at the sub-district, district, state and national levels. The involvement of multiple stakeholders across civil society, from private practitioners and NGOs to technical agencies and community groups, on such a large scale, is expected to develop functional and sustainable networks, increase information sharing and accountability, and empower community monitoring and ownership of TB care and control.

The Global Fund Board has approved funding for the initial two years of the five-year proposal that seeks a total grant of US$ 199.54 million. The actual funding amount for the two years will be finalised in the next few months.

[Source: Citizen News Service (CNS, www.citizen-news.org)]

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