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Open Access Costs and operation management of community outreach program for tuberculosis in tribal populations in India

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Objective: To evaluate costs of an active case finding (ACF) program with tuberculosis (TB) treatment delivery and monitoring, which targeted a rural tribal population in India.

Method: A time and motion study was conducted to evaluate operations and workload. Costs from the program perspective were assessed using both the bottom-up and top-down costing methods, exclusive of routine TB care costs. The impact of ACF on routine TB laboratory workloads was measured based on the changes in available staff time per smear at nine designated microscopy centers before and after program implementation.

Results: A majority (53.2%) of the community health-care worker's time was spent in traveling to communities, with an average of 22 TB patients (95% CI 19.14–24.94) seen per day per person. Costs (at 2015 $US rates) were US$1.85–US$2.42 per patient screened and submitting sputum, US$2.51–US$4.74 per person diagnosed with TB, and US$22.52–US$34.13 per TB patient completing treatment. Total smear volumes increased significantly after the ACF program, with more than a 15% reduction in available staff time per sputum smear test in most laboratories.

Conclusion: This low-cost, ACF program has the potential to be highly cost-effective in addressing gaps in TB care problems in rural India.
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Keywords: active case finding; cost analysis; operation management; tribal population; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, Maryland, USA 2: 2 Asha Kalp, New Delhi, India 3: 3 McGill University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 4: 4 Independent Consultant 5: 5 Stop TB Partnership, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: June 21, 2019

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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