"There is no vaccination for hepatitis C. But the burden of this disease in India is huge. Hence, FIND is planning to add hepatitis to the diagnostic facilities it is providing in the country," said Dr Sanjay Sarin, head, India operations and ACCESS, FIND.
He was in the city for the launch of paediatric TB project organized by the Intermediate Referral Laboratory (IRL) under the State TB Control and Demonstration Centre (STCDC).
FIND was partnering with Cipla Ltd and UNITAID to negotiate a grant for India in replicating the TB model for hepatitis C disease. "FIND wants to expand its horizon to new diagnostics and treatment of diseases other than TB in India. It has worked in dealing with hepatitis C in other countries and would use the experience in India," he said.
Dr Sarin said that FIND has not only funded all 574 centres with the CBNAAT (Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test) or GeneXpert machines but also evaluated and validated the machines for the entire country. FIND is an organization working for improving the diagnostic facilities across the world and India is one of the most important destinations.
FIND will be supporting 50 new laboratories under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) and bringing new TB diagnostics in government sector in the country. India accounts for one-fifth of the total TB cases in the world and hence helping it diagnose and thus treat the disease would help in reducing the overall TB burden of the world. With the Indian government now stressing on diagnosing TB in children through a national project across nine cities, the disease will also be captured in the younger population to a large extent.