With the detection of tuberculosis (TB) in 24 person who had recovered from COVID-19 in Karnataka, the Health Department has launched an active case finding (ACF) campaign among people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Launching the campaign, Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar called upon all recovered patients to come forward and get tested during this intensified detection campaign.
“It is not that all people who recovered from COVID-19 will get TB. But, as both COVID-19 and TB primarily infect the lungs, it is important that recovered persons get evaluated for TB voluntarily. All identified people will be tested and followed up for TB similar to what is being done for mucormycosis (also known as Black Fungus),” he said.
State Joint Director (TB) Ramesh Chandra Reddy said the 24 TB cases detected among people who recovered from COVID-19 are from Kodagu, Mandya, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts. The patients had recovered two months ago, and TB was detected in the last 15 days. The campaign will cover around 80 lakh people, including the family members and contacts of those who had recovered between January and June. “If detected at an early stage, treatment for TB is easy and effective,” he said.
Admitting that TB detection had been hit during the pandemic, the Minister said since 2017, 75 lakh suspected cases have been identified, and 88% of them have been tested. About 3.9% of them have been infected by TB, he said.
With experts cautioning that children are likely to be predominantly affected during the third wave, the State Health Department is all set to launch ‘Arogya Nandana’, a new initiative to test all children for COVID-19 in Karnataka. Chief Minister Basvaraj Bommai will launch the programme within a week, the Minister said.
“Karnataka has about 1.5 crore children in the 0-18 age group. All of them will be tested under this initiative. Under this program, children with low immunity and other co-morbidities will be identified, and provided with nutritious food and supplements to boost immunity. All measures will be taken to monitor their health,” Mr. Sudhakar said.
The programme will be taken up jointly by the Health and Women & Child Development departments.
Appeal for additional doses of vaccine
The State will appeal for additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the Centre to achieve its ambitious target to fully inoculate the entire eligible adult population in Karnataka by December 2021.
“I will soon visit Delhi to seek additional supply of vaccines for Karnataka. With 25% of the vaccine production allocated to the private sector, we are having discussions with corporates to explore the possibility of the companies procuring vaccines under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and providing them to the State government. This will significantly accelerate the vaccination drive,” the Minister said.
He said the Chief MInister will interact with Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT/BT) companies, and call upon them to use their CSR funds to procure vaccines.