Workshop on implementation of TB-Tobacco collaborative activities

World Health Organization in collaboration with National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) and Central TB Division (CTD) conducted a workshop to implement TB-Tobacco collaborative activities at state and district levels on 1 August 2018 at New Delhi.

The primary objective of the workshop was to build capacity of District Programme Managers of both TB and Tobacco Control Programmes for implementation of TB-Tobacco Collaborative Framework. It also provided a platform to programme managers to jointly discuss coordination mechanisms, cross-referral and recording and reporting mechanisms. An important outcome of the workshop was a district-level action plan for effective implementation of collaborative activities.

The workshop was inaugurated by Dr S. Venkatesh, Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) in the presence of Ms Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary, MoHFW; Dr Fikru Tullu, Team Leader for Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO Country Office for India; Dr K. S. Sachdeva, Deputy Director General, Central TB Division; Dr Sanjay Kumar, Joint Director, Central TB Division and Dr L. Swasticharan Chief Medical Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme.

State Programme Managers and District Programme Managers from eight states, representatives from academia, civil society organizations attended the workshop.

The National Framework for Joint TB Tobacco Collaborative Activities was launched by the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare in 2017 and WHO India played a pivotal role in development of the framework. The framework provides step by step guidelines on the implementation of tobacco cessation services as an integral part of TB case management. Further, guidelines for screening of TB symptoms in registered tobacco users clients at the National Tobacco Quitline and Tobacco Cessation Centre helps to improve TB case detection. India is the first country in WHO South-East Asia Region to implement collaborative framework for TB-Tobacco comorbidities.

Tobacco use and tuberculosis (TB) are major public health burdens that are largely preventable. India has the largest number of TB cases in the world with an estimated at 2.8 million incident cases per annum. There are vast numbers of tobacco users; nearly 267 million persons above 15 years, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS-2). Therefore, in India, where both tobacco use and TB are common conditions at the population level, even a small increase in relative risk of TB due to tobacco use, more specifically with respect to smoking, amounts to a significant attributable risk of TB burden to the population, due to increased incidence of TB and poor treatment outcome among smokers.