India spent Rs. 500 crore (Rs.5 billion/$81 million) in fiscal 2013-14 on the treatment of tuberculosis, including providing free medicines, Health Minister J.P. Nadda said Tuesday.
The minister also said that the government is implementing the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme in the country, under which diagnosis and treatment facilities, including anti-TB drugs are provided free of cost to all TB patients.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, the health minister said that in 2011-12, the amount incurred on prevention and control of TB was Rs. 391.16 crore, which went up to Rs. 467 crore the next year.
In 2013-14 that ended March 31, the amount spent on TB treatment was Rs. 500 crore.
Designated microscopy centres have been established for quality diagnosis for every one lakh population in the general areas and for every 50,000 population in the tribal, hilly and difficult areas, he said.
To conduct the diagnosis, he said, more than 13,000 microscopy centres have been established in the country. "Drugs are provided under direct observation and the patients are monitored so that they complete their treatment," he said.
Nadda also said that programmatic management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT) services, for the management of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and TB-HIV collaborative activities for TB-HIV co-infection are also being implemented throughout the country.
The minister said as use of irrational treatment regimen is one of the major reasons for development of resistance to anti-TB drugs, the government has moved the drugs from schedule H to H1, under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which lays down certain conditions on their usage.
Indian government has also released standards for TB Care in India, an initiative to introduce uniform standards for TB care in all sectors.
"This is the first time such standards have been defined in India and is an important step to standardize diagnosis, treatment, public health action and social support systems for all TB patients in the country," he said.
(With inputs from IANS)