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HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1995 Jan-Feb; 21(1):29-33.In India, the standard regimen (SR) for treating tuberculosis consisted of a 2-month intensive treatment by 2-3 inexpensive drugs followed by a 10-month course using 2 drugs. In the 1980s, this course was shortened to 6 months owing to the powerful drugs rifampicin and pyrazinamide. Thiacetazone was also replaced by the more expensive but less toxic ethambutol. The result was a short-course chemotherapy (SCC) employing 4 drugs for 2 months, followed by 2-3 drugs for 4 months of follow-up. The SCC is being pilot-tested as the Revised National Tuberculosis Program (RNTP); this RNTP strategy is being implemented in Delhi, Bombay, and Mehsana with the assistance of the Swedish international agency. The World Bank also endorsed RNTP, as SCC regimens under it were cost-effective. The SR and SCC regimens were also compared for Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, and relatively minor differences were found in lives saved for expenditures. The claim that the rates of default under SR and SCC remain unchanged over time and the cure rates of the regimens must be challenged. The estimated cure rates of 60% for SR and 85% for SCC do not correspond to the reality in India, where 41% of patients completed treatment under SR versus 47% under SCC. The cost of treatment under SR does not have to be a 5-drug regimen; re-treatment can be a 3-drug regimen, whereby the cost would be lower than assumed. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHF) was probing 253 district SCCs even in 1992-93 and accepted SCC because the World Health Organization recommended a vastly improved administration for implementation and there was a felt need from patients for speedy cure. If the SCC is administered properly, it may increase the cure rate, even if cost-ineffective; if poorly managed, increased drug resistance of TB bacteria could result, which may be the present situation.
FRONT LINES. 1991 Nov; 16.Indonesia's success in reaching World Health Organization (WHO) universal immunization coverage standards is described as the result of a strong national program with timely, targeted donor support. USAID/Indonesia's Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) and other USAID bilateral cooperation helped the government of Indonesia in its goal to immunize children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, and measles by age 1. The initial project was to identify target areas and deliver vaccines against the diseases, strengthen the national immunization organization and infrastructure, and develop the Ministry of Health's capacity to conduct studies and development activities. This EPI project spanned the period 1979-90, and set the stage for continued expansion of Indonesia's immunization program to comply with the full international schedule and range of immunizations of 3 DPT, 3 polio, 1 BCG, and 1 measles inoculation. The number of immunization sites has increased from 55 to include over 5,000 health centers in all provinces, with additional services provided by visiting vaccinators and nurses in most of the 215,000 community-supported integrated health posts. While other contributory factors were at play, program success is at least partially responsible for the 1990 infant mortality rate of 58/1,000 live births compared to 72/1,000 in 1985. Strong national leadership, dedicated health workers and volunteers, and cooperation and funding from UNICEF, the World Bank, Rotary International, and WHO also played crucially positive roles in improving immunization practice in Indonesia.