Staff Reporter

‘Initial focus to be on North-East Delhi areas’

‘Also to track side effects of new medicine’

NEW DELHI: Workers of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) who are involved in reproductive health care of women and children in the rural areas will now be trained for the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis eradication programme in North-East Delhi.

Under the DOTS-Plus (Direct Observation Treatment-Plus) scheme, ASHA workers will be trained and employed for the MDR-TB eradication programme.

“The North-East district of Delhi catering to a population of about 20 lakh comprising areas of Sonia Vihar, Karawal Nagar and Jaffrabad will be the initial focus to begin with,” said Dr. Amod Kumar, Head of Community Health Department at St. Stephen’s Hospital. “The challenge for the ASHAs in the DOTS-Plus scheme now will be to ensure that patients take MDR-TB medication every day for two years and also track their side-effects if at all, which was not the case earlier. Under the DOTS scheme, medication is given on alternate days over a period of six months,” said Dr. Kumar.

Stating that ASHA was incorporated about a year-and-a-half ago to operate as a link worker between communities and organised healthcare delivery system, Dr. R. P. Vashisht, State TB Control Officer and Head of Public Health, Delhi Government, said: “We are engaging ASHA further in the area of MDR-TB over and above its existing efforts in maternal health. Our objective is to duly train ASHA representatives to create mass availability of facilities and necessary aids to under privileged sections of society.” As of now ASHA workers are implementing various activities in the primary health sector in the rural areas under the National Rural Health Mission. But considering their reach and achievements, their role has become important in tackling other diseases as well.