The Delhi Government launched three new schemes on Sunday in an attempt to achieve zero deaths from tuberculosis in the Capital. Minister of Health and Family Welfare A.K. Walia, who launched the schemes to coincide with World TB Day, said they will specifically focus on homeless people.

The initiative will initially cover those living in 25 selected night shelters and involve opening of TB control services for homeless population, and empowerment of widows of TB patients by educating, training and involving them in TB control services and providing them with financial support. The initiative also covers opening of Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) Centres for Multi-Drug Resistant TB patients.

Dr. Walia said TB control officials will visit night shelters and provide awareness, preventive and curative services to this vulnerable section of society.

“The incidence of TB is higher among night shelter dwellers as compared to other segments of the society. Low social economic status, poor literacy, associated habits such as alcoholism and drug addiction, overcrowding and poor ventilation make such people more vulnerable to disease and death. The scheme envisages to check this trend,” he said.

The Delhi Government will also rehabilitate the families of patients who died due to TB, he said. They will be empowered to participate under the TB control program and will be provided training to become Community DOT Provider (CDP) in Bhagidari mode, he said.

Dr. Walia said that as part of vocational rehabilitation, the widows will be provided with sewing machines free of cost and will be given free training to operate the machines to earn their livelihood. Evening treatment centres for MDR TB cases in chest clinics such as Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital will be opened.

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