Health economics

Economic Burden of Tuberculosis in India

The national tuberculosis strategic plan for 2017-22 envisages allocating substantial funds to mitigate the financial hardships of tuberculosis patients in India. Plans are underway to reimburse travel expenses for diagnostic and treatment purposes and financial assistance to cover the cost of nutritional support during treatment.

However, it is well accepted that globally tuberculosis control programmes remain under funded and this is particularly true for India as its health budget is one of the lowest in the world. Therefore, to ensure proper utilization of the available resources and to plan for any social protection measures for tuberculosis patients, cost information regarding the disease is important. There is clear dearth of a comprehensive cost study on tuberculosis in India. The proposed study will be an attempt toward to fill this gap.

Aim:  
To estimate the cost of treating drug susceptible and multi drug resistant tuberculosis in India from a patient’s perspective. The study will document the magnitude and main drivers of different types of costs incurred by the tuberculosis patients in different settings. The results will be helpful in designing policies to reduce financial hardship related to this disease

Research Methodology:
The broad study design will be a cohort study, with the aim to get representation of the different types of population of India (e.g. slum dwellers / tea garden workers) in four states of India – Assam, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The approach follows a methodology developed by the World Health Organisation’s Task Force on Catastrophic Cost Measurement. Drug Susceptible TB patients will be interviewed once in the intensive phase (0-2 months), the end of the continuation phase (5-6 months) and six months’ post treatment to get information related to treatment cost of TB. The MDR-TB patients will be interviewed once at the start of the intensive phase (1-3 months), during the continuation phase (6-12 months), at the end of treatment (24 months). 

Current Status:
The central TB division of the ministry of health and family welfare, government of India is collaborating for this study. Actual field work started from March 2019. First wave of baseline data has been collected from West Bengal. Second wave of data collection has been initiated. 

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