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J Commun Dis. 2006 Mar;38(3):204-15.

Socio-economic dimensions of tuberculosis control: review of studies over two decades from Tuberculosis Research Center.

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  • 1Tuberculosis Research Center (ICMR), Mayor V R Ramanathan Road, Chetput, Chennai, India 600 031.


Tuberculosis (TB) affects the most productive age group and the resultant economic cost for society is high. Even though diagnostic and treatment services under TB control are offered free of cost, TB patients do incur out of pocket expenditure. Tuberculosis Research Centre under took a series of studies on economic aspects of TB. We interviewed TB patients enrolled under TB control programme in south India, and assessed the following: socio-economic status of patients (SLI - standard of living index) and economic impact on patients, families both before and after Revised TB Control Programme (RNTCP) and the impact of parental TB on children. In addition patient's perceptions of physical, mental, social well being during and after completion of treatment were also elicited. A TB patient incurs out of pocket expenditure of Rs 5986 amounting to about 13,000 crores a year for the country; 11% of children dropped out of school on account of parental illness and 20% of the children had to take up employment in order to supplement income especially if the father had TB. About 64% of TB patients registered under RNTCP were poor (low SLI). The provider cost to treat a TB patient under RNTCP was Rs 1587/- for Category I, Rs 1924/- for Category II and Rs 1417/- Category III. At the end of treatment even though 47% of patients continued to have respiratory symptoms, 54% of patients perceived 'happy mental status'. Majority of the patients registered under RNTCP were poor. Patients' and provider costs and the impact on patients including families on account of TB were enormous. About half of TB patients, despite completing treatment successfully had persistent respiratory ill health resulting in frequenting health facilities. This information is vital for programme planners indicating that the existing control programs have been ineffective. To achieve success in control programs, the existing ones should be amended as there is evolution of resistance in the parasite as well as the vector. Public health education, to make the people aware about preventive aspects of the disease is important. The possibility of the existence of animal reservoirs should also be considered and checked out for better control measures.

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