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MEDICINE AND SOCIETY
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 298-301

Universal health coverage and tuberculosis care in India in the times of Covid-19: Aligning Ayushman Bharat (National Health Assurance Scheme) to improve case detection, reduce deaths and catastrophic health expenditure


1 Department of Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), University Road, Deralakatte, Mangalore 575018, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), University Road, Deralakatte, Mangalore 575018, Karnataka, India
3 National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, No. 1, Mayor Sathiyamoorthy Road, Chetput, Chennai 600031, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Anurag Bhargava
Department of Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University), University Road, Deralakatte, Mangalore 575018, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-258X.303111

India has the largest global burden of new cases of tuberculosis (TB) and deaths due to TB. These occur predominantly in the poor who suffer catastrophic costs during diagnosis and treatment. The National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme has ambitious goals of 80% reduction of incidence of TB, 90% reduction in mortality due to TB by 2025 and 0% occurrence of catastrophic costs to households affected by TB by 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to TB services are expected to worsen the situation. There are gaps in case finding at the peripheral level and access to care at the higher level for patients with TB. An estimated 32% patients with active TB do not access diagnostic services, while catastrophic costs associated with hospitalization are a barrier to access for seriously ill patients. Deaths due to TB in India occur largely at home and not in medical facilities, and are preventable with appropriate inpatient care. The Ayushman Bharat scheme with its Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and coverage for inpatient care under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) can facilitate, the achievement of the goals of TB elimination. The HWCs provide an opportunity to close the case-finding gap as first point of contact by enabling sputum transport services to the designated microscopy centres. This will facilitate case detection, reduce diagnostic delays, and decrease community transmission and the incidence of TB. The benefit package of PM-JAY can cover patients with pulmonary TB, inpatient evaluation for other forms of TB, enhance the allocation for treatment and cover management of comorbid conditions such as severe undernutrition, anaemia, HIV and diabetes.


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