The team conducted several onsite visits and held detailed discussions with state and district level TB officers in Gangtok. The observations and recommendations made in key areas include: intensified case findings in adults and children; universalisation of testing for drug resistance using rapid gene based technologies; encouraging completion of treatment through measures such as counseling and nutrition support; operations research to improve quality and efficiency of services; and additional logistics and financial support for outreach services, drugs personnel and consumables for testing.
The team has also strongly advocated for building up community awareness regarding TB and has urged for bringing focus on the disease in all public and community interactions. The team expressed concern on the prevalence of TB in younger age groups and the high level of resistance to medication recorded in recent years.
Further, a swift and targeted response in disease hotspots and vulnerable populations has been recommended. The team expressed appreciation with the State TB Control Programme and Sikkim’s initiatives in responding to the challenge with a sense of urgency.