The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Authors VK, NW were part of the writing team with contributions from AD, SS, SC, and LSC. VK drafted the manuscript, with manuscript review and edits by NW, SS, AD and SC. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Tuberculosis remains a major public health problem in India with the country accounting for one-fifth or 21% of all tuberculosis cases reported globally. The purpose of the study was to obtain an understanding on pro-poor initiatives within the framework of tuberculosis control programme in India and to identify mechanisms to improve the uptake and access to TB services among the poor.
A national level workshop was held with participation from all relevant stakeholder groups. This study conducted during the stakeholder workshop adopted participatory research methods. The data was elicited through consultative and collegiate processes. The research study also factored information from primary and secondary sources that included literature review examining poverty headcount ratios and below poverty line population in the country; and quasi-profiling assessments to identify poor, backward and tribal districts as defined by the TB programme in India.
Results revealed that current pro-poor initiatives in TB control included collaboration with private providers and engaging community to improve access among the poor to TB diagnostic and treatment services. The participants identified gaps in existing pro-poor strategies that related to implementation of advocacy, communication and social mobilisation; decentralisation of DOT; and incentives for the poor through the available schemes for public-private partnerships and provided key recommendations for action. Synergies between TB control programme and centrally sponsored social welfare schemes and state specific social welfare programmes aimed at benefitting the poor were unclear.
Further in-depth analysis and systems/policy/operations research exploring pro-poor initiatives, in particular examining service delivery synergies between existing poverty alleviation schemes and TB control programme is essential. The understanding, reflection and knowledge of the key stakeholders during this participatory workshop provides recommendations for action, further planning and research on pro-poor TB centric interventions in the country.