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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Memphis Professor Co-authored Editorial for British Medical Journal Global Health on the Eve of World TB Day

Dr. Soumitra Bhuyan, an Assistant Professor of Health Systems Management and Policy at the University of Memphis School of Public Health co-authored an editorial titled ” India’s plan to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025: converting rhetoric into reality”. The Government of India announced its plan to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025 during the Union Budget address last month which is incredibility ambitious as India accounts for 27% of the world’s 10.4 million new TB cases. The real question brought upon by the research team is how India can demonstrate real progress in the decrease of tuberculosis? The researchers offer some suggestions that might help bridge the gap between ambition and reality.

Dr. Madhukar Pai, Canada Research Chair in Translational Epidemiology & Global Health at McGill University and lead author of the editorial suggested that “India must start to seriously tackle key determinants of TB, especially poverty, undernutrition and tobacco smoking, which have been clearly linked with TB and mortality due to TB.” This task will require intersectoral collaboration between multiple ministries, agencies and civil society such as the inclusion of TB in social protection programs.

A concern brought up by Dr. Soumitra Bhuyan, Assistant Professor of Health Systems Management and Policy at the University of Memphis, School of Public Health, was that “India must invest in research and surveillance. The research will need to focus on development and validation of new tools, including rapid point of care diagnostics, new TB drugs, and vaccines.”  This task will require periodic prevalence surveys, national TB drug-resistance surveillance, improved public health informatics, better tracking of TB deaths and implementation science to identify and treat missing TB patients. The creation of the India TB Research and Development Corporation in November 2016 is a promising step forward, but it will require partnerships as well as sustainable funding to succeed.

The authors contend that India’s plan to eliminate TB by 2025 demonstrates much-needed ambition and intent. We call on the Government of India to ensure that the declaration is followed through by providing adequate funding and implementation support to execute the new National Strategic Plan for 2017–2025.

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