In India, more than 50% of the population seeks care for tuberculosis (TB) in the private sector. Back in 2012, TB diagnosis in the private sector was driven by the excessive use of unreliable serological tests concurrent with issues of low availability and high costs of quality-assured diagnostics tests. Therefore, to address these challenges, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) initiated project IPAQT (Initiative for promoting affordable and quality TB tests) in 2013. Since then, IPAQT has been successful in bringing together various private labs with the support of test manufacturers and other major stakeholders to facilitate the delivery of WHO-endorsed TB tests (sputum microscopy, culture, GeneXpert & line probe assay) to presumptive TB cases at affordable prices. IPAQT additionally aims to promote the use of these tests by building awareness among health providers, laboratories, and patients.
IPAQT was successful in bringing down the prices for the quality TB tests by ~50% in the private sector. This can be attributed to alI IPAQT partner labs in their commitment to offer WHO endorsed, high-quality TB tests at or below the mentioned (ceiling) prices:
GeneXpert Test–₹ 2200
Hain Genotype Test–₹ 1800
MGIT AFB Culture–₹ 900
BacT/ALERT AFB Culture–₹ 900
These four tests have proved to be most efficient in terms of accuracy and speed, essential factors in combatting TB.
TB affects more than 2 million people annually in India, and each undiagnosed or falsely diagnosed case aggravates the spreads of the disease. IPAQT strongly believes that early diagnosis followed by accurate treatment is the only solution to control TB, the disease that kills about 1400 Indians every day.
Quality TB tests are available at IPAQT pricing in more than 80% of the Indian districts due to the network of IPAQT partner labs and their collection centres. In addition to collaborating with private sector labs, the initiative has also joined hands with various non-profit and academic bodies, who are key opinion leaders in the field of TB diagnosis and treatment, for provider sensitization on quality TB diagnosis and treatment.