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Nutritional assessment and counselling of tuberculosis patients at primary care in India: do we measure up?

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SETTING: Dakshina Kannada District, coastal South India, under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).

OBJECTIVE: To identify the potential and practices at primary health centres (PHCs) for the assessment of nutritional status of patients with tuberculosis (TB), the basic tools used to measure height and weight and the type of nutritional counselling provided.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was conducted with physical verification of availability of height and weight measuring equipment. Information was collected on the method used by medical officers for assessing nutritional status in PHCs, action taken in case the patient is undernourished and any formal training in nutritional assessment and counselling.

RESULTS: Of 37 PHCs assessed, weighing machines were available in all and stadiometers in 38%. Medical officers were not calculating body mass index for nutritional assessment even when height and weight were being uniformly measured. Nutritional classification was mostly based on the appearance and physique of the patient. Counselling included advice to take milk, eggs and protein powders with efforts to arrange funds from village health, sanitation and nutrition committees.

CONCLUSION: There is a need to equip the PHCs and their medical officers with necessary tools and training for nutritional assessment and counselling of patients with tuberculosis.

Keywords: Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme; direct benefit transfer; operational research; primary health centres

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Department of Community Medicine 2: Centre for Nutrition Studies, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Department of General Medicine, Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore 3: Department of Community Medicine 4: State TB Office, Lady Willingdon Hospital, Bengaluru 5: World Health Organization, Country Office for India, New Delhi 6: Department of Community Medicine, Employees State Insurance Corporation Medical College and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science and Research, Bengaluru, India

Publication date: February 1, 2019

This article was made available online on January 8, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Nutritional assessment and counselling of tuberculosis patients at primary care in India: do we measure up?".

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.

    The IJTLD is dedicated to understanding lung disease and to the dissemination of knowledge leading to better lung health. To allow us to share scientific research as rapidly as possible, the IJTLD is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles as preprints prior to their publication. Read fast-track articles.

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