The NGO TB Consortium (NTC) is fundamentally a civil society (CS) initiative brought together by World Vision India in 2007 with a vision statement of "an India without TB", keeping in mind that India bears one fifth of the global TB burden. It was the first of its kind TB Consortium formed in India.The NTC has grown from 7 partners in 2007 to 12 in 2009. The Organizations that comprise the NTC are the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), Damien Foundation India Trust (DFIT), German Leprosy and TB Relief Association (GLRA), LEPRA Society, PATH India, Project Concern International (PCI) India, TB Alert India, CARE India, Southern Health Improvement Samity
(SHIS), FAIRMED India, Maharashtra Association of Anthropological Sciences and World Vision India. The principal thinking behind such a move was the paucity of a civil society voice for TB while the academic sector, private and public health institutions/organizations, medical and TB Associations, Corporates and many others were playing their due roles.
The Public Sector indeed had made remarkable strides in TB Control lately. However it was felt that CS complementing India's Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) would really provide the much needed synergy to augment TB Care and Control. Few areas where the Public Sector would benefit from CS involvement would be: in accessing hard to reach areas and indigenous populations including tribal belts, facilitation in ensuring compliance, tracing of defaulters, etc. Thus World Vision India did a quick search of NGOs interested and working in TB particularly those with strengths in Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization. Some of these had already worked as coalitions in Polio and Leprosy. The NTC recognized the problem of "reach" that TB control in India yet faced. There are States in this country where TB Control is not easy. Much of this could be due to repeated natural disasters or difficult geographical terrains resulting in severe infrastructural and logistic constraints that could make even the best infectious disease control program in the world face serious hurdles. With each partner's community linkages, grass roots experience and ability to mobilize societies, the NTC hopes to synergize their abilities and support the RNTCP in these areas.
Drawing upon each others' strengths World Vision was first awarded an USAID grant for TB ACSM activities as a jumpstart for a possible Global Fund (GF) grant. This was implemented through 5 sub grantees of the NTC of World Vision in 40 districts, in addition to a 6th sub grantee which was the Union which implemented the same in 40 other districts. Subsequently, World Vision India was awarded the GF R9 for TB as Principal Recipient covering 74 districts in 7 states with 6 Sub grantees, all of them being NTC partners.From its inception, the movement sought advice both from the RNTCP and the WHO India TB division as and when it was needed and had received ample support. The NTC owes much to the advice provided by these institutions and is grateful to them. Even as this goes to print WV India's GF R9 is in the implementation mode and now with the NTC forming part of a multisectoral Partnership for TB Care and Control that emerged much later, we believe that the vision of an India without TB appears more achievable, than when we started. Dr. Vijay Edward, Convenor, NGO TB Consortium