State has a long road ahead in fight against tuberculosis

Efforts are on to maximise notification of private cases, say officials

Published - March 24, 2019 12:44 am IST - CHENNAI

The notification of tuberculosis is slowly improving in the State but Tamil Nadu has a long road ahead. Efforts are on to maximise private case notification in Tamil Nadu, officials say.

According to State TB officials, the Central TB Division has set a target for TB notification rate at 195 per lakh population — 106 per lakh for the public sector and 89 per lakh for the private sector.

“In the last quarter — October, November and December 2018 — the State’s notification rate was about 150 per lakh. We have achieved the target for the public sector case notification, while the private sector case notification stood at 41 per lakh as against the target of 89 per lakh. However, it is notable that the private sector case notification has improved from 17 per lakh in 2016 to 41 in 2018. The State is slowly catching up,” said K. Senthil Raj, State TB officer.

This year, the theme for the World TB Day is “It’s time”. India has set 2025 as the target to eliminate TB, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In line with this, T.N. has come up with ‘TB Free Tamil Nadu - 2025’ and is chalking out specific strategies. It plans to bring down the prevalence to below 40 persons per lakh in high burden districts and to below 10 persons per lakh in low prevalence districts, officials said.

Key factor

The key to increase the State’s notification was to involve private sector physicians, he said, adding: “We need to close the gap in TB notification. We should get the cases treated by private sector physicians notified, make our treatment supervisors to follow them up and ensure their treatment success so that they do not develop Multi Drug Resistant-TB.”

Identifying more number of TB cases will help in initiating treatment promptly and checking on compliance, he added. “Like in Chennai, where we have involved a NGO, REACH, we are roping in NGOs in Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai and Tiruchi to maximum private case notification,” he said.

“On one hand, we are strengthening services in the public sector and working toward improving private sector case notification. On the other hand, the focus is on creating awareness at the community level. Any person, who has symptoms, should know that he/she should approach a government medical facility for early diagnosis. This is the way towards achieving sustainability,” said an official working in TB control.

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