The Telegraph (Calcutta) (08.04.2013)
India’s Union government Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is considering policy changes that would add food and monetary incentives to the free anti-TB medications already supplied to TB-infected patients. Under current policy, the ministry expected TB patients receiving free, government-funded therapy to go to a designated treatment center three times each week for six months to one year to obtain TB medications from a physician.
However, approximately 12 percent of patients receiving free medications discontinued treatment after a few weeks when TB symptoms disappeared, according to TB program specialists. Halting treatment before completing the full course could cause a TB infection to become drug-resistant. Nutritious food and rest also are important parts of TB treatment.
By compensating patients for wages lost during visits to treatment centers and supplementing patients’ nutrition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare hopes to improve cure rates and discourage the spread of drug-resistant TB strains.