Annual Review 2014-15: Diagnosis

TB diagnostic technician in IndiaEarly and accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure treatment starts as soon as possible. Yet in many of the poor countries where TB is most prevalent, limited facilities and a lack of trained staff can delay or deny an accurate diagnosis. Even in the UK it takes most people over 70 days after they experience the first symptoms of TB before they start treatment.

In 2014, the Indian government asked TB Alert India’s Delhi DIVINE programme to turn around a failing TB diagnostic centre in Mukundpur, North Delhi. The area is home to 150,000 people, half of whom live in slums. There were many problems that needed fixing. Instead of being easily accessible, the centre was hidden away in a residential block. There was no outreach to the community, or to the unqualified private healthcare providers that most people turn to when they fall ill. And shockingly, many people who received a TB diagnosis did not go on to receive treatment at the local clinic.

Urgent action saves lives

TB Alert India sprang into action, relocating the centre to where people could easily find it. They trained 61 chemists and private healthcare providers, along with 15 community volunteers who identify people with TB symptoms. 100 people a month are now being tested, double the previous number. And we ensure that everyone diagnosed with TB – around a quarter of those tested – goes on to receive the life-saving treatment they need.