How doctors surveyed 50,000 households to make J&K TB-free

March 24, 2023

Srinagar: Behind the glitter of TB eradication honor lie the enormous hard work and real-time survey of 50,000 households in Kashmir.

Anantnag including Kulgam and Pulwama have been declared tuberculosis free. Srinagar and Kupwara have struck gold in the latest assessment. Budgam had become the first TB-free district in the country in 2021. Baramulla got bronze in the latest assessment. Overall Jammu and Kashmir has got bronze in the rankings.

“We conducted a survey in five TB districts (TB districts are different from revenue districts). Around 10,000 households were surveyed in each TB district. Overall we surveyed 50,000 households in five TB districts and we did not find any single case,” Dr. Adhfar Yaseen, TB officer, Kashmir, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Official figures reveal that there were 3400 TB patients in Kashmir last year. This year, the government had fixed a reduced target to achieve the goal of TB J&K. 

“Next year we are submitting claims again for upgrading the status from gold to TB-free districts. We are working hard to achieve the goal. These awards infuse a sense of competition so that districts work more towards the target,” said Dr. Adhfar.

The number of TB patients in Srinagar has decreased significantly in both the public and private sectors. Due to Active Case Finding (ACF) and Contact Tracing in response to the implementation of TB Preventative Therapy and Har Ghar Dastak, the number of TB patients fell to 44 per lakh  population by 2022 from 84 per lakh in 2015.

There has been a 335% growth in the number needed to test (NNT) to get a single TB patient, going from 11 in 2015 to 48 in 2022. The TB score has increased to 72.83 in 2022 which is substantial and closer to the elimination target.

“Nikshay Mitra has revolutionized the way tuberculosis (TB) patients receive care and support from the community. This has also led to de-stigmatization of TB in the society where patients are coming forward on their own to seek medical treatment and social support,” said Aijaz Asad, deputy commissioner, Srinagar.

The Centre has also started a 3 months treatment programme for the prevention of  TB. Earlier the treatment course was for a 6-month course. Patients had to take medicines for 6 months every day but now, in the new system, they will have to take medicine only once a week. 

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