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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Jharkhand becomes first in country to have workplace policy on tuberculosis: Health department

We have set a target to become TB free by 2024, says additional chief secretary health Arun Kumar Singh

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 13.07.23, 06:04 AM
Jharkhand health department officials and minister Banna Gupta during the launch of workplace policy on TB at Ranchi on Wednesday.

Jharkhand health department officials and minister Banna Gupta during the launch of workplace policy on TB at Ranchi on Wednesday. Manob Chowdhury

Jharkhand health department on Wednesday claimed that the state has become first in the country to have workplace policy on tuberculosis (TB) and its comorbidities, including occupational lung diseases.

The policy was launched by state health minister Banna Gupta and labour minister Satyanand Bhokta at Ranchi on Wednesday afternoon.

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The feat assumes significance for India, which leads the world in TB cases, according to WHO’s 2018 Global TB Report. Of the 10 million new and relapsed cases in 2017, India accounted for 27 per cent of the global burden of normal (sensitive) TB.

The country also led in cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), accounting for 24 per cent of the cases followed by China (13 per cent) and Russia (10 per cent).

Additional chief secretary health, Jharkhand, Arun Kumar Singh said that Jharkhand has become the first state in the country to launch the TB work place policy and corporate engagement to end TB.

“Jharkhand is a mineral rich state and people working in industries and mines are especially vulnerable to occupational diseases including TB. We are the first state in the country to have a workplace policy on TB and corporate engagement to end it. We have set a target to become TB free by 2024 (the Centre has set a target to eliminate TB by 2025). Everyone should work with coordination to eradicate TB,” said Singh.

Jharkhand health department officials and minister during launch of workplace policy on TB at Ranchi on Wednesday.

Jharkhand health department officials and minister during launch of workplace policy on TB at Ranchi on Wednesday. Manob Chowdhury

“The main reason for getting TB is the lack of immunity and not getting good food. The bacteria spreads through air and affects the lungs. We should remove misconception superstitions related to TB disease and with public participation we can be successful in achieving this ambitious goal,” added Singh.

Under this policy, all industries, firms operational in Jharkhand will have to arrange for the treatment of employees under an employer-led model for TB and its related comorbidities, including occupational lung diseases.

The policy also entails that the employer has to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for employees so that they do not suffer from such diseases and also arrange for periodic testing of all employees for TB and other related diseases.

If any employee is diagnosed with TB, the employer has to arrange for proper medical treatment either in private or government hospitals.

The policy also outlines specific roles of state TB control cell, AIDS control programme, non-communicable diseases (NCD) unit, workers union and NGOs.

The treatment of the affected employees will be free under the National Tuberculosis Control Programme.

As recommended by WHO, the state provides free medicines to patients via the directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) centres.

Gupta said that so far 57,567 TB patients have been identified in the state and at the moment 1022 people are screened per one lakh populace.

“The scope of investigation will be further expanded. We are working on making the panchayats and blocks TB free.

The state government is starting the TB-free panchayat program from today itself. The representatives of the first ten TB-free panchayats will be awarded with gold, silver and bronze medals by the government,” announced Gupta.

“People go to their workplace during working hours and they are not able to meet our health workers. People want to hide the disease due to misconceptions which in turn leads to spread of TB. Keeping these things in mind, the government has brought this Work Place Policy for TB,” said Gupta.

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