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Specialist army to wage war on TB

The Jharkhand chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided to adopt a two-pronged strategy to fight tuberculosis (TB) in the state.

First, it will take steps to detect more cases, particularly in rural areas; and second, it will involve private medial practitioners in treatments.

The decision was announced at a workshop on Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), organised by the IMA state unit in association with Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, at a Ranchi hotel on Sunday.

Over 70 doctors from across the state attended the meet where experts spoke on diagnostic approaches and management of TB, besides the role of private practitioners.

“We will hold camps in slums, mining areas and remote villages to detect TB cases and invite private specialists to sign disease control MoUs with us,” state IMA president A.K. Singh said.

For screening TB suspects, the state chapter is relying on sahiyas and village health committees. They can identify victims from tell-tale signs such as coughing for more than two weeks and no response to normal medicines.

India’s RNTCP is the largest TB prevention programme in the world, under which more than 1 lakh people receive treatment every month.

According to state tuberculosis officer Rajesh Dayal, the success rate in Jharkhand as far as detection and treatment of cases are concerned is 90 per cent. “This is on a par with the national success rate,” Dayal said and added that 1.60 lakh TB suspects were screened in the state in 2013, of whom 35,561 were found to be suffering from the disease. They were cured under RNTCP.

V.S. Prasad, state director of health services, said the TB bacterium was air-borne and one patient could infect 10 others in a jiffy. “Continuous monitoring and drug administration are must,” he added.


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