Patient Experience under India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in Pondicherry



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While India's Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) has been a success on a statistical and national scale, awareness of the program and tuberculosis (TB) still remains low in many areas of India. In Puducherry (previously known as Pondicherry), a survey of 50 RNTCP patients reveals that only 40% had heard of TB before diagnosis, only 16% suspected that they had TB, and only 10% had heard of directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS). Women were more likely than men to have heard of TB (50% vs 35.3%, respectively) and DOTS (25% vs 2.9%, respectively), likely due to targeted TV advertisements during the day when men are out working. As expected, patients with more years of schooling were more likely to have heard of TB. Men were more likely to report missing doses, but women were more likely to report side effects. As income and years of schooling increased, the likelihood of seeking private treatment also increased likely due to less crowding and faster treatment in private settings. Most patients were happy with their experienced under RNTCP, major complaints included side effects of taking the pills, missing work in order to obtain pills, and facing the stigma of having TB. Reported compliance was high overall, but 44% of patients reported missing at least one dose during the course of their treatment. While RNTCP has come a long way in reducing the morbidity and mortality of TB, it still has a long way to go especially in population awareness and prevention of multi-drug resistant TB.

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