Towards national standard treatment guidelines (STGs) for India

Francoise Cluzeau Jul. 20, 2015

As part of its efforts towards UHC, India’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has established a Task Force on standard treatment guidelines (STGs). This Task Force will oversee the development of authoritative, national STGs for healthcare services, including those covered by existing large scale insurance schemes, and to help expand access to care that is affordable, equitable and effective. The first batch of 14 STGs will include prioritised topics such as hypertension and depression. This initiative is coordinated by the National Health System Resource Center (NHSRC).

Responding to a direct request by the STG Task Force and NHSRC, iDSI is contributing on three fronts:

  • It is a member of the STG Task Force, which has representation from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), public and private sector agencies, research and clinical institutes from across India, as well as clinicians from renowned hospitals.  (Members of a parallel Task Force on Primary Care also provide input into the group in recognition of the need for national guidance to tackle the rise of preventable NCDs.)
  • It is helping to develop the process and methods manual underpinning the guidelines and associated Quality Standards for India. The manual aims to guide the STG developers in producing STGs that are of high quality, inclusive and relevant to India. It provides details on the adaptation of existing STGs that adhere to international criteria, as well as the development of de novo evidence-informed STGs.
  • It is providing technical assistance to the 10 Clinical Subgroups that have been convened to develop STGs on 14 prioritised topics in the next 12 months. Each Clinical Subgroup includes clinicians (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) with expertise in the respective clinical topics, both from the private and public sectors, and from different states of India. As a first step, NHSRC and NICE International jointly convened a workshop in May 2015 on the methods and processes for guideline adaptation. The workshop was attended by members of the STG Task Force and facilitators from the 10 Clinical Subgroups.

This iDSI practical support is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) India. The list of specialties and topics for the first set of STGs are in the table below:

Pediatrics ·         Cough in Children
Neonatology ·         Neonatal jaundice·         Feeding of low birth weight newborns
Medicine ·         Hypertension
Surgery ·         Acute abdomen·         Diabetic foot surgery
Mental health ·         Alcohol dependence·         Depression in primary care (including in the context of pregnancy)
Orthopedics ·         Joint pain in adults
Obstetrics & gynecology ·         Menstrual irregularity
ENT ·         Sinusitis in adults
Ophthalmology ·        Dry eye
Critical care / Emergency Medicine ·         Snake nite·         Organophosphorus poisoning