t may be a simple act, but it is one of the most effective means to check the spread of some diseases: covering the mouth while coughing.
As many as 1,000 schoolchildren in rural parts of Tiruchi district will receive handtowels printed with the message “Keep this towel handy when you cough; stop spread of tuberculosis”. This initiative by the Tiruchi District TB Control Society has been planned to create awareness through schoolchildren among people about prevention and treatment for tuberculosis.
“Coughing not only spreads tuberculosis, but a host of other air-borne diseases,” says Abdul Samad, deputy director (tuberculosis), Tiruchi.
A CD on health awareness with focus on TB would be distributed among schools in the district. The educational CD was launched by District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan at Syed Murtaza Government Higher Secondary School on Thursday.
The CD explains how TB spreads easily through air and lists common symptoms of TB such as persistent cough, hunger, weight loss, fever in the evenings and notice blood in sputum. Students are made aware of facilities available at primary health care centres and government hospitals to detect and treat the disease.
“If students are aware, they can enlighten their parents. If they notice they have persistent coughing, they can coerce them to take a sputum test at a nearby centre,” said Abdul Samad. Free medicines are provided by the State government.
If treatment was taken for six to eight months without interruption, tuberculosis could be cured in most cases, he added.
There were less than 40 cases of multi-drug resistant TB or those who did not respond to anti-TB drugs.
Exhorting students to create a tuberculosis-free society, Ms. Jayashree said tuberculosis affected people with low immunity. By taking nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables from a young age, students could build up the necessary immunity.
Free mass screening undertaken under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has helped identify and cure more than a thousand people of tuberculosis, said the Collector.
In the last one year, 19,753 persons in the district were screened for TB when they reported common symptoms, particularly persistent coughing.
Free sputum tests were taken for all and 3, 398 persons were diagnosed with tuberculosis.
While tuberculosis can affect any part of the body, the lung often bears the brunt and 1,890 patients had an affected lung.
These patients were put on drugs and 90 per cent of them have been cured completely, said Dr. Samad. — Staff Reporter
Rural government schools to get handtowels to spread TB message