As many as 2,650 new cases of tuberculosis have been identified across 55 districts in India within a fortnight, from January 15 to 30, under an aggressive campaign undertaken by the Centre. The campaign seeks to detect hidden cases of TB and is part of the government’s long-term plan to eliminate the disease by 2025. Of the 2,650 cases, 161 were found in Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi and Pune.
Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director general of Central TB Division, government of India, told The Indian Express than an intensive door-to-door campaign has been taken up in three phases to find cases of TB that have gone unreported. The government plan — ‘active case finding: TB services at the doorstep’ — was rolled out in 55 high-burden districts across 18 states in January this year. As many as 46 lakh persons were screened from January 15 to 30 and sputum samples were examined from 69,638 suspected TB patients.
“From these, we have identified 2,650 persons who have TB,” said Dr Khaparde.
Annually, as many as one million TB cases are not reported across India as people are either not aware of the disease or not inclined to seek treatment.“We have included difficult-to-reach villages in this survey and some 20 categories have been identified after mapping vulnerable populations at risk of TB,” said Khaparde. The exercise to detect TB was carried out in high-risk districts with vulnerable groups such as migrant clusters, residents of old-age homes, refugee camps, prisoners, and glass, weaving and cotton mill workers.
The second round of the door-to-door campaign will be held across 100 districts from July 17 to July 31, while the third round will be conducted across India from December 4 to December 18.
“The patients who were identified had symptoms, such as a cough, for more than two weeks, a spike in fever during the evenings and weight loss,” said officials of the Central TB division. A majority of cases were identified from districts across Bihar, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. According to Khaparde, the number of cases were highest in Bihar. where Bhagalpur district had 102 TB cases and Darbhanga had 505. In Delhi, 247 cases were identified, while in Karnal, Haryana, another 102 cases were found. Indore had 194 TB cases while Kolkata had 190 new TB cases.
Dr Sanjeev Kamble, state joint director of health services (TB and Leprosy), said that across Maharashtra, a total of 161 cases were newly detected, out of which 88 were from Mumbai, 30 from Thane, 35 from Bhiwandi and the remaining from Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.
Last year, 2,782 new TB cases in Pune, 634 in Pimpri Chinchwad
Last year, from a total of 3,586 patients living with TB in Pune, at least 2,782 were newly-detected cases. In 2015, of 3,778 TB cases, a total of 2,980 were newly detected. City TB control officer Dr N D Thakur said that as against 171 deaths in 2014, due to TB-related infections, there were 153 deaths in 2015. According to Dr Balasahabe Hodgar, Pimpri Chinchwad TB control officer, there were a total of 1,636 TB cases, out of which 547 were newly detected in 2016.