Starting Tuesday, the Maharashtra government is going to begin a month-long drive to conduct door-to-door screening and detect new tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy cases.
Across state, the public health department plans to screen 8.66 crore population, including 6.82 crore in rural areas and 1.84 in urban municipal corporation limits.
“This year the notification for TB and leprosy was low. We suspect a lot of new cases in community have gone undetected and may continue to transmit the infection to others. To arrest the transmission and put these people on treatment, a state-wide drive will help,” said Dr R S Adkekar, joint director for tuberculosis and leprosy in Maharashtra.
A team of two health workers such as ASHA or anganwadi helper along with other workers will visit 20 households in rural and 25 households in urban areas each day. Each resident will be enquired whether he or she has cough, fever persisting since two weeks and weight loss. Health workers will collect two sputum samples from suspected cases and test. “Confirmed cases will be asked to undergo chest x-ray and will be put on treatment,” Adkekar said.
For leprosy, health workers will look for white and numb patches on skin and refer suspected cases to primary health centres for further tests.
State Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said the joint TB and leprosy drive has been modelled on polio campaign to screen cases door-to-door. District collectors and municipal commissioners will directly monitor the drive.
State health officials are hopeful of detecting a large number of hidden TB and leprosy cases that avoided a hospital visit due to Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown has significantly reduced new cases detection by 40-50 per cent.
Minister of State for Health Rajendra Patil-Yadravkar has appealed to people to cooperate for with health workers and share information of any known symptoms.
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