The Indian Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved to extend by five years the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTBC)to benefit over five million people.
The extension of the program from Oct 1, 2005 to Sep 30, 2010 would involve an expenditure of Rs.11.56 billion ($255 million). Of this, Rs.2.82 billion would be required in the 10th Plan (2002-07) and Rs.8.73 billion in the 11th Plan (2007-12).
"The direct benefit would be the treatment of 5.32 million TB patients during the project period. Of these, at least 4.52 million patients would be cured," an official spokesperson said Friday.
"This will result in averting at least 960,000 deaths, of which 480,000 would be adults, with an economic output potential of at least Rs.14,000 per year," the official said.
At an average working life of 15 years, this would mean a national economic saving of more than Rs.100 billion.
India is estimated to account for nearly 30 percent of the global tuberculosis burden. The disease is viewed as a major health problem because of its high mortality and morbidity.
RNTCP was introduced in India through a series of pilot projects beginning in 1993. Over the years it has been gradually stepped up to cover a larger population.
In 1997, the World Bank assisted RNTCP was launched at a project cost of Rs.7.49 billion and included a World Bank component of Rs.6.05 billion.
It was targeted to cover a population of 271 million (1991 census) in 102 Short Course Chemotherapy (SCC) districts and strengthen another 203 SCC districts for introduction of RNTCP at a later stage over a period of five years.
The project was further extended up to March 2004 to cover a total population of 700 million.