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A TB test, treatment and cure for all
India has more new TB cases annually than any other country in the world, with an annual reported incidence of 2.2 million cases per year. A matter of grave concern is that 9.3 lakh TB cases in India are not notified, as per the WHO report, 2013.

Early diagnosis and complete treatment of TB is the corner-stone of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) implemented by the Central TB Division's (CTD), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. RNTCP's program provides quality assured diagnostic and free medicines to all the TB patients, including the necessary supportive mechanisms for ensuring treatment adherence and completion.

The private sector in India predominates in health care and TB treatment. Extremely large quantities of anti-TB drugs are sold in the private sector, sometimes without a prescription. Non-standardised prescribing practices among some of the private providers, with inappropriate and inadequate regimens and unsupervised treatment continues. This frequently leads to treatment interruptions and subsequent drug resistance.

If the TB patients diagnosed and treated under all sectors are reported to public health authorities, the mechanisms available under RNTCP's program can be extended to these patients, to ensure treatment adherence and completion. The impending epidemic of Drug Resistant TB (DRTB) can only be prevented to a large extent by this intervention.

In order to ensure proper TB diagnosis and case management, reduced TB transmission and to address the problems of the emergence of Drug Resistant TB, it is essential to have complete information of all TB cases. Therefore, the Government of India declared TB a notifiable disease on 7th May 2012. It is now mandatory for all public and private health providers to notify TB cases diagnosed and/or treated by them to the nodal officers for TB notification.

This Word TB Day, observed every year on March 24, a social media campaign supported by USAID and implemented by Population Services International (PSI), India, a leading NGO engaged in public health in partnership with Improving Health Behavior Program, FHI 360; will be launched.

The campaign targets allopathic doctors in the private sector, to raise awareness of TB notification in India and to provide a convenient platform for allopathic doctors to register with the RNTCP's national notification system called 'Nikshay'.

Speaking on the occasion Pritpal Marjara, Managing Director, PSI, India said,?By June 2014, India will have 243 million internet users, second only to China. We must leverage the power of social media channels to raise awareness of TB notification and ensure a TB test, treatment and cure for all."

The social media campaign has two platforms - a Facebook page and a microsite. The facebook page provides an opportunity for allopathic doctors to sign a pledge supporting TB Notification and to ?like? and share the page with professional friends and colleagues.

The microsite provides in-depth information about TB in India and an opportunity for doctors to easily register their details, so that the District TB Officials can contact them and register them on Nikshay

PSI is confident that this initiative will play a big role in realizing CTD's vision of zero deaths from TB and will provide each and every TB patient with to access free tests, free medicines and good quality care,to ensure a complete cure.

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