Tuberculosis deaths are predictable and preventable: Comprehensive assessment and clinical care is the key

Comprehensive assessment and clinical care are a prerequisite of patient-centered care. Simple independent predictors of death like unstable vital signs, BMI, mid-upper arm circumference, or inability to stand or walk unaided can be used by programs for risk assessment. Programs need to define criteria for referral for inpatient care, address the paucity of hospital beds and develop and implement guidelines for the clinical management of seriously ill patients with TB, advanced HIV disease and severe undernutrition as co-morbidities. Programs should also consider notification and audit of all TB deaths, similar to audit of maternal deaths, and address the issues in delays in diagnosis, treatment, and quality of care.