The Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) of India recommends follow-up sputum smear examination at two months into the continuation phase of treatment. The main intent of this (mid-CP) follow-up is to detect patients not responding to treatment around two-three months earlier than at the end of the treatment. However, the utility of mid-CP follow-up under programmatic conditions has been questioned. The authors undertook a multi-district study to determine if mid-CP follow-up is able to detect cases of treatment failures early among all types of patients with sputum smear-positive TB.
They reviewed existing records of patients with sputum smear-positive TB registered under the RNTCP in 43 districts across three states of India during a three month period in 2009. They estimated proportions of patients that could be detected as a case of treatment failure early, and assessed the impact of various policy options on laboratory workload and number needed to test to detect one case of treatment failure early.
Gandhi, MP.; Kumar, AM.; Toshniwal, MN.; Reddy, RH.; Oeltmann, JE.; Nair, SA.; Satyanarayana, S.; Dewan, PK.; Mannan, S. Sputum Smear Microscopy at Two Months into Continuation-Phase: Should It Be Done in All Patients with Sputum Smear-Positive Tuberculosis? PLoS ONE (2012) 7 (6) e39296. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039296]