Union researchers found that active case finding among marginalised and vulnerable populations in India significantly reduced the costs to the individual during the diagnosis period of TB, when compared to individuals detected through passive case finding. In passive case finding, people with TB symptoms visit public health services on their own for diagnosis whereas in active case finding, the health system reaches out to the community and systematically screens the population to find people showing symptoms of TB.
The research findings, published in the journal Global Health Action, found that, globally, the total cost of TB care (diagnosis and treatment) was equivalent to 39 percent of the annual household income and half of that cost was incurred during diagnosis.
Total costs are considered as ‘catastrophic’ if they exceed 20 percent of the annual household income prior to illness. Adjusted analysis showed that patients detected through active case finding had a 32 percent lower prevalence of catastrophic costs compared to people diagnosed through passive case finding.
The study was conducted by The Union’s Centre for Operational Research as part of a series of studies exploring if The Union’s active case finding strategy under project Axshya is effective in reducing delays in TB diagnoses, related costs and unfavourable TB treatment outcomes.