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 COMPLETE CARE FOR LOW-LITERATE TB PATIENTS IN ASSAM

Title of the project:
Design of a new ICT ecosystem for health administrators, medical officers and health workers to track/monitor progress of Tuberculosis (TB) patients in real-time.

Funding Agency:
Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT), Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), Government of India

Partnering agencies:
World Health Organization (WHO), State Tuberculosis Cell - Government of Assam

Motivation of the project:
An estimated 2.2 million cases of TB is registered in India in 2014 alone, out of total 9 million cases worldwide. Despite increased efforts through Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), there are still unfilled gaps demanding immediate attention. Most common gap is tracking of initial defaulters, who are initially TB infected and referred to nearest health center for DOTS. However, there is no current system that can track them and ensure initiation of DOTS. This is also observed for retreatment defaulters, who often leave without completing full DOTS course. This results in their inclusion under the category of drug resistant TB. For instance, initial and smear positive retreatment defaulter rate in a relatively developed district of Kamrup Metro (Assam) is 25% and 32% respectively. Cases in rural areas are even worse. Moreover, problems associated with disconnected health centers, real-time DOTS monitoring, delayed patients data cause delayed and ineffective curbing measures, which are major setbacks to improve India's TB ecosystem. These problems are not limited to Assam, but observed across the country. Such challenges demand immediate solutions to empower health administrators & workers to (a) track defaulters, (b) monitor progress of patients' health and (c) provide a real-time information update to take timely and effective decisions for worsening TB cases.

Objectives
The broader aim of this proposal is improve TB ecosystem in sync with existing government supported TB initiatives. The objective is to develop a centralized and "anytime, anywhere" accessible system to empower health administrators and workers to track and monitor - initial defaulters, regular DOTS medication, retreatment defaulters and provide real-time updates to take preventive measures for category 1 and 2 TB patients and defaulters. The objective is also to educate DOTS providers, which in turn empowers community members. Empowering community members is essential to reap long-term health benefits and a healthy society.

Target users and Beneficiaries
For long-term duration, it will benefit TB patients and family members.
Target users for information system: Health administrators, medical officers at district and block level health centers
Target users for training module: DOTS provider, health workers
Direct beneficiaries: Health administrators, medical officers and health workers (e.g. DOTS providers & STS).
In-direct beneficiaries: TB patients and family members

Please find the detailed plan here