Fight Against TB

Earlier this week, a meeting of District TB Control Society was held in Srinagar, informing among others regarding the TB score of 93% against the National Requirement of more than 80% and that District had shown more than 60% reduction in ATT Drug sale. This year the Presumptive TB Examination rate has been increased to 2912/Lakh population, the meeting was informed as per an official statement.

District Srinagar has already received the Gold category ward during 2022-SNC through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI.

The meeting also informed as many as 39708 Presumptive Examination for TB detection were conducted from January to September this year by District TB Society Srinagar. It was also given out that Srinagar is well on the path to become TB Free District shortly. The statement is heartening. However, as has been rightly stressed by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, there is need to further improve the efforts to deal with gaps and work in close coordination to achieve the goal of TB free Srinagar. There is also need for ensuring effective delivery of all TB care services on ground to achieve TB Free Status for Srinagar by strictly adhering to the NTEP Guidelines.

Pertinently, a recent study by the ICMR and the TB institute of Chennai conclusively established that the mortality risk of Tuberculosis patients is greatly reduced by 60 per cent with the intervention of dietary support, especially if it leads to weight gain within two months.

Tuberculosis, predominantly caused by Mycobacterium TB, is one of the oldest known communicable diseases. In India, “National Tuberculosis Control programme (NTCP)” was launched in 1962. However no appreciable change in the epidemiological situation of TB in India has been observed to overpower the disease declared as a Global emergency in 1993 by WHO.

Importantly, the study quantifies how under-nutrition, a known leading risk for TB, can be tackled. Among others it called for giving monthly provisions of a 10-kg food basket of rice, pulses, milk powder, oil and multivitamins to the patients. This, it said, can reduce the incidence of all forms of TB by 40 per cent and of infectious lung TB by 50 per cent among those in contact with the victims for six months. The family members need 5-kg rice and 1.5-kg pulses per head per month to stay safe from infection.

There is need for a multi-pronged approach to remove the barriers to equitable TB care. There is a need to increase occupational screening, nutritional interventions for the malnourished and a gender-responsive approach to TB. These measures are crucial in addressing the gaps to control the disease.

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