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Key note address on Medical Colleges and TB Control: Current status, policies, potential collaborations and perspectives : by Dr S.P. Agarwal, Director General of Health Services, Govt. of India, New Delhi

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Besides implementing the programme, medical colleges have other important roles in TB control. We all know the great respect and trust which professors enjoy from peers as well as the community. To continue to merit this high regard, it is essential that you are actively involved in the programme. Possible areas for collaboration with the National Programme could be in areas of advocacy, operational research, as a training center, quality control of drugs and sputum microscopy, conducting appraisals as well as supervision and monitoring of the programme.

I also want to address the issue of HIV and TB. Medical colleges have a critical linkage role to play. You as opinion leaders can emphasize the importance of TB and the urgency of improvement in services in the light of the dual threats of HIV and multidrug-resistance. You can participate in the RNTCP in your medical college practice and in your teaching. If HIV is not controlled, then TB will inevitably increase. You can teach about HIV and AIDS, and be especially active in ensuring rational and safe use of blood and injections. Medical colleges will operate voluntary counseling and testing centres – these are pivotal places, for both HIV prevention and for effective co-ordination between AIDS and TB control programmes.

Perhaps as an outcome of this workshop, few medical colleges could be identified as nodal centres and an expert working group formed to carry forward the recommendations of the participants. I would particularly stress on the two areas of co-ordination i.e. service delivery and training of undergraduates.

It is hoped that this workshop would further facilitate the partnership between the medical colleges and the RNTCP. This will not only ensure improved training and education in TB for the staff, but also improved and better co-ordinated services for the patients. I hope that this Workshop will go a long way towards implementing the potential of medical colleges in promoting and improving TB control in our country.

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