In India, the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) envisages initiation of TB treatment within seven days of diagnosis among smear-positive patients. After nearly two decades of RNTCP implementation, treatment delays are usually not expected.
To determine the proportion of sputum smear-positive TB patients who were initiated on treatment after seven days and their associated risk factors.
The study was conducted in Cuttack and Rayagada districts of Odisha. It was a retrospective cohort study that involves review of TB treatment registers and laboratory registers for 2013.
Among 1,800 pulmonary TB (PTB) patients, 1,074 (60%) had been initiated on treatment within seven days of diagnosis, 721 (40%) had been initiated on treatment more than seven days, and 354 (20%) had delays of more than 15 days. The mean duration between TB diagnosis and treatment initiation was 21 days with a range of 8–207 days (median = 14 days). Odds of treatment delay of more than seven days were 4.9 times (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.3-6.6) among those who had been previously treated, 6.2 times (95% CI 1.3-29.7) among those infected with HIV, and 1.8 times (95% CI 1.1-2.9) among those diagnosed outside district DMC.
Delay in initiation of TB treatment occurred in majority of the smear-positive patients. The RNTCP should focus on core areas of providing quality TB services with time-tested strategies. To have real-time monitoring mechanisms for diagnosed smear-positive TB patients is expected to be the way forward.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Ilangovan K, Nagaraja SB, Ananthakrishnan R, Jacob AG, Tripathy JP, Tamang D (2015) TB Treatment Delays in Odisha, India: Is It Expected Even after These Many Years of RNTCP Implementation?. PLoS ONE 10(4): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125465
TB Treatment Delays in Odisha, India: Is It Expected Even after These Many Years of RNTCP Implementation?