Indian studies show major gaps in TB knowledge and self-reported practices of providers, suggesting poor adherence to established standards in the private sector. A recent study, using simulated patients, confirmed the overall low quality of TB care in the private sector, and revealed a substantial gap between what doctors know and what they actually do in their practice.
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health threat. Since the introduction of antibiotics, microbes have evolved a variety of methods to resist them. We are now dealing with “superbugs” that are virtually untreatable. Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is a prime example of the threat posed by AMR.
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As the Prime Minister of India speaks to the US Congress this week, a neglected epidemic threatens India's progress. It's not Ebola or Zika - but rather tuberculosis, an ancient disease that silently kills one Indian every 90 seconds.
As more than half of patients seek care in the private sector, the government needs to engage more with private practitioners and explore innovative ways to do so. They must find ways to ensure that private care providers follow proper diagnostic and treatment protocols, and notify cases to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP). Ultimately, TB patients need quality care, regardless of whether they choose to seek care in the public or the private sector.