With a sample population of 4,176 persons, the survey found that more than 75% were aware of symptoms

People across the State are aware of the symptoms of tuberculosis (TB) but have poor knowledge on the Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) therapy, a survey conducted across 24 districts of Tamil Nadu has found.

The survey, TB in Tamil Nadu, was carried out by a contingent of 22 National Cadet Corps from 1 (TN) Armd Sqn NCC of D.G. Vaishnav College. The cadets’ motorcycle expedition, for creating awareness on the prevention and cure of TB, covered 3,000 kms in 16 days from February 4, S. Santhosh Baboo, NCC officer of the college, said.

With a sample population of 4,176 persons, the survey found that more than 75 per cent of the respondents were aware of the symptoms of TB but only four out of every 10 respondents had an idea about DOTS.

“However, the awareness on DOTS has improved from 20 per cent in 2009 , when we conducted a similar exercise, to 43 per cent now,” S. Narasimhan, principal of the college, said, shortly after releasing the survey findings on Tuesday. Another key finding was that 50 per cent of the respondents did not know about the monthly incentive of Rs. 1,000 provided to TB patients holding a farmer protection card, he added.

The districts surveyed included Vellore, Krishnagiri, Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, Trichy, Villupuram and Cuddalore. Yercaud topped the survey with the highest average of 82.24 per cent in terms of better awareness on TB symptoms/mode of transmission, cure, DOTS therapy and government’s role in TB control/treatment, while Ramnathapuram recorded the lowest with 45.57 per cent.

P. Chinnappa, additional director (inspection), Directorate of Medical and Rural Health Services, said, “The minimum period of treatment is six months. New drug molecules are required to reduce the treatment duration to one or two months for better cure rates,” he said.

With World TB Day falling on March 24, the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP), Tamil Nadu, has started airing jingles on TB awareness , especially multi-drug resistance TB, on three city FM stations, including FM-Rainbow, from Tuesday, M. Shanmuga Sundaram, State information education and communication officer, RNTCP, said.

Lt. Col. Ajay Dhawan, Officer Commanding, 1 (TN), ARMD Sqn NCC, was present.

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