Chennai’s New Strategy to Eliminate TB
Thanks to the Zero TB Cities project, if all goes well, Chennai may drastically reduce TB mortality, shrink the number of new cases annually and impact TB prevalence in the city in a matter of 3-5 years.
Chennai has been chosen as one of two cities in the world where the Zero TB Cities project will try to create an “island of elimination”; Lima in Peru is the other city. The project will be formally launched in Chennai in a few months’ time.
The project will be implemented by the Municipal Corporation of Chennai with the Chennai-based REACH and the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) assisting it.
“Our U.S.-based team partnered with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) India, to do extensive scoping missions across major Indian cities starting in 2014. Over the course of several visits, Chennai came out as the strongest site to explore a Zero TB City approach in India,” Tom Nicholson associate in research at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), Durham, and who is heading the new project said in an email to The Hindu.
The very objective of the project is that other cities in India and elsewhere take the initiative in a similar way and tackle their own TB epidemics urgently. “When the municipal authorities in Lima or Chennai stand up and identify TB as a priority public health menace that needs to be tackled, other locations may follow suit, and build their own locally appropriate plans to more toward ultimate elimination of TB. If we can help, we will of course find a way to do so,” Mr. Nicholson said.
“The goal is to help communities move to zero deaths from tuberculosis in their own way, and create “islands of elimination”, which will hopefully reverse the overall tuberculosis epidemic,” Pamela Das, Executive Editor and Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, note in an Editorial in The Lancet.
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