Axshya Notification Software Developed to Ensure Treatment Adherence

Madurai: REACH Axshya Project initiated the process of monitoring treatment adherence through Axshya Notification Software (ANS). The software is developed exclusively for patients taking treatment for TB at Velammal Medical College Hospital, Madurai to provide counselling throughout the period of treatment.

ANS sends daily reminder SMS alerts and gives an IVRS call on a weekly basis to patients to emphasize the importance of continuous treatment, nutrition and to avoid any loss to follow-up.

The software is expected to improve treatment outcome.

 

Daily Regimen for TB rolled out in Bihar

Patna, February 15, 2017: The Bihar State TB Cell rolled out the Daily Regimen for Tuberculosis in the state today. The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has introduced the daily drug regimen, which will be implemented in 104 districts in five states including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Maharashtra and Kerala in the first phase. Patients with drug-sensitive TB will now receive a daily dose instead of the previous alternate day regimen.

The launch event, organized by REACH (Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health) in collaboration with the State TB Cell, saw the participation of key government dignitaries. Shri Shashi Bhushan Kumar, I.A.S, Executive Director (NHM), State Health Society, Bihar graced the event as the Chief Guest. He administered the first dose for three TB patients at the launch, and spoke about the shift in regimen. “The new drugs would be available with all government as well as private providers. The officials should ensure proper implementation of the programme at the district and sub-district levels,” he said, requesting patients to adhere to the treatment and take their medicine daily till the treatment is complete.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr KN Sahai, State Program Officer (TB), Bihar TB Cell said that the roll out of the Daily Drug Regimen would ensure provision of the same medicines in the private and the public health sectors. “We are introducing this regimen so that there is no difference between private and government sector treatments and patients getting treated in the government sector do not feel that the medicines in the private sector are better,” said Dr Sahai. He also announced that provision of ‘family DOTS’ would be made in the state, which will give patients the choice to opt for a family member as their treatment supervisor. He added that district magistrates have been given the responsibility to launch the first phase of the project in their districts in order to create awareness about the new regimen.

Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) will be supporting the implementation of the Daily Drug Regimen for TB in Bihar. Dr SK Shahi, HoD, Microbiology, IGIMS, outlined the role of the medical college in the roll out.

With over 1,300 deaths per day, TB continues to be a grave public health crisis in India. According to the Global TB Report, 2016, it is estimated that there are 2.8 million new (incidence) cases of TB. Bihar reports around 70,000 new cases of TB every year.

The programme was attended by representatives by REACH, World Health Partners, Innovators in Health, PSI, Project Axshya partners. Ms Bushra Azim, State IEC Officer, Bihar State TB Cell, was also present at the launch event held at IGIMS, Patna.

Call to Action for a TB-free Jharkhand launched

Ranchi, 21 February: “TB is the oldest disease in the world and yet we haven’t been able to eradicate it. This is now the goal and vision of our Prime Minister, and I must congratulate all of you, on behalf of the Jharkhand government, for working towards making this possible,” said Shri Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Minister of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Government of Jharkhand. He was speaking at the launch of the Tuberculosis (TB) Call to Action Project in the state, held in Ranchi earlier today. The TB Call to Action project is being implemented by REACH with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

With over 1,300 deaths per day, TB continues to be a grave public health crisis in India. TB Champions and Ambassadors can play a valuable role in improving awareness of the disease and dispelling myths and misconceptions. Ms Deepika Kumari, Arjuna award-winning archer and Padmashri recipient, announced that she would be a TB Ambassador for the state of Jharkhand. “I am happy to join the fight against TB in Jharkhand and to work with the TB Programme and REACH. The stigma associated with the disease affects everyone but especially women. There are so many stories of women with TB who have been thrown out of their families. We must stop isolating people with TB. I know that if all of us speak up to Stop TB, before the next Olympics in 2020, we will be closer to our dream of a TB-free Jharkhand and a TB-free India, she declared.

Shri Ram Tahal Chaudhary, Member of Parliament, Ranchi, called on all stakeholders, including other parliamentarians and elected corporators, to get involved in the fight against TB. “With unified efforts, we have made great progress in the field of public health and TB. Isolation, stigma and discrimination used to be a very grave problem in TB but now this has improved. Wherever my support and that of my peers is concerned, I offer my involvement”, he said.

Shri Sudhir Tripathi, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Jharkhand, said, “I congratulate public spirited organisations like REACH for their hard work, thanks to which, elimination of TB is now on the antenna of such bodies and with time, we will reach our goal. Once we are inclusive in our approach, our outreach, leveraging all the available tools, then we will be able to offer a united thrust to be closer to our goal.”

Also gracing the occasion was Shri Rakesh Prasad, Deputy Chairman, Common Minimum Programme. Addressing the gathering, he said, “It is imperative to look at every point [of the 20-point programme] in an integrated manner, and this is where the role of this project, the TB Call to Action, by REACH, is instrumental. In the case of TB, the different relevant factors are health, sanitation, urban slums, development of backward areas, environment protection and afforestation.”

The event also saw the participation of Mr Mintoo Kumar Sinha, a TB survivor. “I have been working as a lab technician since 2010, and I got TB myself. I completed my six months treatment through DOTS and was cured completely. I urge everyone to complete their treatment and become TB-free.”, he said. Several TB Champions and survivors were recognized for their contribution to the fight against TB, including Sister Britto, Mr Faiz Anwer and Mr Murari Singh.

Other participants included Dr Rakesh Dayal, Nodal Officer, State TB Cell, Jharkhand who presented a status update on TB in the state and said, “We need the commitment of all stakeholders including corporates, community, patients, government, NGOs, etc, to counter this disease”.

“Through this project, REACH seeks to amplify and support India’s response to TB by involving previously unengaged stakeholders and broadening the conversation around the disease,” said Ms Smrity Kumar, Project Director of TB Call to Action, in her address.

The launch event was followed by a panel discussion to discuss the need for convergence for TB and the role of different ministries and departments in addressing the socio-economic impact of TB. The panelists included Mr Das, Secretary, Department of Welfare, GOJ; Dr Sumant Mishra, Director, Health Services; Mr Ashutosh Prasad, Additional Director – Mines; Dr Rakesh Dayal, Nodal Officer, State TB Cell; Mr Inderjeet Banerjee from Medanta and was moderated by Dr Ramya Ananthakrishnan, Executive Director, REACH.

The TB Call to Action Project is being implemented with support from USAID in Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Government Officials Trained to Incorporate Contact Tracing in RNTCP

Chennai: The REACH IMPACT initiative conducted a training session for Senior Treatment Supervisors and Health Visitors of Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) to sensitize them about the innovative approach of contact tracing and its practical aspects.

The training initiative aims to facilitate integration of contact tracing into the government program. During the session, the participants were informed about coupon system in contact tracing and were trained to counsel the contacts of the patients. Counselling for contacts usually differs from that of a patient as the contacts are mostly healthy individuals.

The meeting was led by IMPACT Initiative’s Dilesh Kumar and Nalini Karunakar. IMPACT Initiative, in collaboration with the Chennai corporation, is implementing contact tracing of smear positive TB patients registered with the RNTCP.

 

Free GeneXpert Diagnosis for Referrals by Private Practitioners

December 2016, Chennai: GeneXpert Diagnostic System was introduced at The Hindu Employees Health and Welfare Centre under Project EQUIP to offer free diagnosis to referrals by private practitioners in Chennai. The laboratory team headed by Ms. Jasbir Kaur, Head, Diagnostics, The Hindu Welfare Centre will be performing the GeneXpert tests.

The centre started the testing in the month of December and 60 tests have been successfully conducted so far. The new diagnostic tool was inaugurated by Dr. Netty Kamp, Senior Advisor, KNCV TB Foundation and Mr.Rajiv Lochan, CEO, The Hindu Welfare Centre in the presence of Dr.Ranga. K, Chief Medical Officer, The Hindu Welfare Centre and Dr.Ramya Ananthakrishnan, Executive Director, REACH. The Hindu Welfare Centre, has a long association with REACH in providing quality TB care services towards a TB-free Chennai.

Private practitioners are being actively encouraged to refer their patients for free GeneXpert testing at the centre.

Pharmacists Gear Up to Join the Fight Against TB

December 2016, Chennai: REACH Pharmacy Initiative organised two sensitization workshops for pharmacists, to familiarize them with the issues surrounding TB. The workshops saw the participation of representatives of about 150 pharmacies from two zones in Chennai, who were educated on the role of pharmacists in preventing and treating Tuberculosis.

A pre-assessment survey was conducted to understand the information requirement of the participants and the sessions were tailored to fit the indicated needs.

During the sessions, pharmacists were provided Tuberculosis facts and current TB statistics. The trainers also held discussions on the importance and use of communication materials, highlighted the role of government healthcare facilities, and collected consent forms from pharmacists willing to participate in the initiative.

These training sessions were also used as an opportunity to collect feedback from the pharmacists about the initiative, as well as to receive inputs on areas to further extend the initiative.

Applications Invited: Regional Capacity-Building Workshop for TB Survivors

Last date to Apply: 20 February, 2017

THE OPPORTUNITY

Globally, there is growing recognition that the fight against TB must actively seek the participation of those most affected by the disease – individuals who have had TB and their families. It is their stories, their experiences, their voices that matter, that will resonate with communities, policymakers and governments and that can reduce stigma, accelerate investment in TB, advocate for a transition to patient-friendly approaches and raise the profile of TB.

This workshop is intended for those who have had TB or been directly affected by the disease and have a keen interest in building their capacity to be effective TB Advocates and Champions. The workshop will adopt inclusive, participatory approaches to learning and will focus on:

  • Building knowledge on different aspects of TB
  • Understanding the public and private health responses to TB including TB service delivery
  • Contextualising individual experiences within the national / regional/ global fight against TB
  • Developing key advocacy and communication skills to share personal experiences with different audiences

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

This workshop is open to TB survivors and those who have been directly affected by TB from the following countries:

  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Bangladesh
  • Philippines
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam

An ideal applicant is:

  • A TB Survivor or someone who currently has TB
  • Alternatively, has been a care-giver to a close family member affected by TB.
  • Keen to openly share his/her experience of TB and become a TB advocate
  • Willing to participate in a six-month mentorship programme (if chosen)
  • Fluent in English, with both verbal and written communication skills

Women who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.

Selection: All applications will be evaluated by a committee and shortlisted participants may be contacted for a telephonic/skype interview prior to selection.

Venue and funding support: The workshop will be conducted between 10-13 April in New Delhi, India. Selected participants will be provided with all support for travel, accommodation, visas and related expenses.

Application deadline: The last date for receiving applications is 20 February 2017.

The completed application form must be sent by email to tbcalltoaction.reach@gmail.com by this date.

For any clarifications, please contact REACH at the above email address.

You can download the application form here. 

To download the flyer, click here.