Review series: the politics of TB: the politics, economics and impact of directly observed treatment (DOT) in India.

India harbors approximately one-third of the world’s tuberculosis cases. The disease being multi-factorial; various political, social and economic factors play pivotal roles in causation and control. The country’s policy-makers, via the Revised National Tuberculosis Programme (RNTCP), have embraced DOTS, i.e. Directly Observed Treatment; short course, as a means of combating the disease. Today, a decade after being launched, the DOTS programme in India is the largest in the world. The achievements of the programme have been significant in reaching out to the millions and having impressive cure rates, but the disease is far from eradicated. Social taboos, economic obstacles, and deficient infrastructure are impediments that hamper the success of the programme. With multidrug-resistant TB and HIV co-infection complicating the management of TB; the task has become more daunting. In a country as heterogeneous as India, novel holistic strategies that address individual needs will have to be developed to successfully curb the spread of the disease in the future.

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