|Introduction: Give context to the Lancet report.|
Body: Discuss highlights of the report and implementation of Nikshay Yojana.
Conclusion: Way forward.
Recently, a study conducted by Lancet in Jharkhand shows that a good diet not only reduces the incidence of the disease amongst vulnerable people living with infected people, but it also reduces mortality in TB patients. The study found that early weight gain in people with TB lowers the risk of mortality by 60 percent.
How has implementation of the Nikshay Poshan Yojana, aimed at improving the nutrition of TB patients?
- Direct benefit transfer: The NPY was launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It aims to support every TB Patient by providing a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Rs 500 per month for nutritional needs. The government needs to increase the DBT amount as Rs 500 is too low to have a nutritious and healthy diet.
- People’s participation: Community participation is an essential feature of Nikshay Yojana. Community participation plays a key role in mass awareness, behaviour change, demand creation, clearing myths, and convincing the reluctant to embrace services. Low patient awareness has also been reported to affect the program’s reach to the citizens.
- Nikshay Mitras: The program allows Nikshay Mitras to adopt and take care of TB patients. Nikshay Mitras are volunteers who may represent private citizens, businesses, NGOs, cooperative societies, or even political organizations. They promise to assist TB sufferers by providing dietary support, nutritional supplements, extra research, and employment assistance. Medical journals have reported about the lack of training for healthcare providers and complex reporting formats as the main hurdles in the implementation of the scheme.
Policymakers must take insights from Lancet’s study and frame guidelines to make sure that people have a healthy diet of proteins, carbohydrates, and micro-nutrients which will help the government achieve its ambitious goal of TB elimination by 2025.