Universal MDR-TB diagnosis, treatment sought in India by 2017

Leaders from the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics said during a program review in India on Oct. 21 that improving laboratory-testing for tuberculosis and ensuring every individual has access to testing and treatment are among its chief goals.

FIND has worked to enhance the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program in India over the last six years in an effort to increase the availability of free, high-quality TB testing and treatment throughout the country.

Moving forward, the goal of the program is to provide universal TB diagnosis and treatment for both conventional and multi-drug resistant strains of the infection before 2017.

Before RNTCP was implemented in collaboration with India's Central TB Division, TB was diagnosed with phenotypic methods and clinical findings, which led to fewer MDR-TB cases being identified. Due to the program, however, 36,840 cases of MDR-TB were diagnosed by the close of the third quarter this year, which was 25 percent more than targeted.

"While our focus in India over the past years has included a strong element of TB laboratory strengthening, we see a lot of potential for future strategic focus on supporting local test development through mentoring, expanding our contributions in public health to other diseases, such as the Leishmaniasis Elimination Program in India, and strengthening links to the private sector," FIND said.