Enhanced use of Quality drugs and Utilization of Innovative diagnostics for TB management in Private Sector

To tackle the problem of Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR TB) REACH launched project EQUIP in April 2015, under which we worked closely with Chest Physicians, General Practitioners, Hospitals, Consultants, Patients, Community groups, and the RNTCP to design a collaborative model for MDR-TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. REACH worked with Chennai Corporation and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation through the support of Lilly Foundation and United Way Worldwide. The project has been successfully transitioned to the TB Free Chennai Initiative.

Goals of Project EQUIP

  • To develop an effective and replicable model for public-private partnership in diagnosing, notifying, and ensuring early access to care for people with drug resistance tuberculosis.
  • To reduce the time taken to diagnose MDR-TB by giving access to improved diagnostic tools.
  • To ensure a reliable supply of quality drugs and treatment support for TB patients.

Through Project EQUIP the patients received the following support-

  • Timely quality TB diagnosis by free GeneXpert testing
  • Timely quality assured TB drugs (as recommended under STCI)
  • Free counselling services by REACH team
  • Regular follow up assistance for drug adherence
  • Nutritional Support

These services are provided by a dedicated team of REACH field officers who are trained in all aspects of TB care and work closely with private doctors to ensure holistic care for the TB patients belonging to the vulnerable sections of society.

Key Highlights

  • Project EQUIP organized focus group discussions with Private Practitioners, Chest Physicians, patients taking TB treatment privately, and patients taking DOTS TB treatment at the Government and PPM’s centres in addition to several one to one interactions with doctors to gather information on various aspects of TB care services developing the strategy for private practitioners’ engagement.
  • A Technical Advisory Group consisting of key partners from private health sector and public TB program was formed to increase ownership of the EQUIP initiative and to provide guidance and support on working effectively with private sector for TB Control.Sensitization Workshops and one to one meetings with TB experts and Private Practitioners to sensitize them on Project EQUIP were done. The workshops focused on sensitizing doctors to the standards of TB care in India (STCI), Notification of TB cases from private sector and Contact Tracing and Chemoprophylaxis for children.
  • There was collaboration with Dr.Ganesan’s Hi Tech Laboratories for providing services of GeneXpert and X-rays through their chain of Labs in Central and South Chennai. Sputum Transportation and collection were facilitated. X-ray and Gene Xpert results were provided to the patients through Project EQUIP based on coupons. Thus Quality diagnosis was provided for patients in private sector.
  • Provision of Daily treatment with standard TB drugs has been initiated through Project EQUIP for the Private Practitioners who recommend it for their patients.Private Hospitals are being identified and approached for integrating EQUIP- TB care centres in their premises. These centres help provide guidance and support to TB patients and ensure monitoring support for TB treatment.The process of patient care in EQUIP was initiated, referrals tracked and patients initiated on TB treatment. Continuous monitoring was undertaken for all patients after obtaining their consent. The entire process has been systematically documented.

Read the report on Project EQUIP: Reaching the last mile

Read the research paper on Project EQUIP