TB screening tool launched to enhance healthcare access for vulnerable groups

The tool will leverage accessible solutions to aid in detection of TB; it aims to enhance access to doctor teleconsultations, provide affordable health products and disseminate credible, disease-specific information to vulnerable population groups

Updated - May 28, 2024 07:40 am IST

Published - May 27, 2024 08:52 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Picture used for representational purpose

Picture used for representational purpose | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Health tech platform eKure has partnered with the Telangana State TB Cell to develop an initial screening tool for tuberculosis (TB) and other chronic conditions. The tool will leverage accessible solutions, such as interactive multilingual WhatsApp bots, to aid in the initial presumptive detection of TB. It aims to enhance access to doctor teleconsultations, provide affordable health products and disseminate credible, disease-specific information to vulnerable population groups.

The primary hypothesis of the tool was to understand the prevalence of TB symptoms among cab drivers, who are at higher risk due to their enclosed work environments, long hours and extensive interaction with the public. The tool was developed on WhatsApp, chosen for its ease of adoption among the general public.

The pilot was launched in June 2023, targeting cab drivers affiliated with the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU). QR codes were placed in their office, and online messages were shared in their WhatsApp and Telegram groups to facilitate participation. After completing a short initial screening via WhatsApp, users had the option to consult with a doctor through teleconsultation for further screening based on their symptoms. The pilot resulted in 3,100 interactions through the WhatsApp chatbot, 155 screenings, 155 teleconsultations and the identification of five presumptive TB cases. These cases were referred for sputum testing, which confirmed one positive case.

“The association with the Telangana State TB Cell is a step toward remedying this disparity through scalable digital technology solutions. We are delighted to be contributing to the National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) as it furthers our mission of building affordable digital products that help low-income workers to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses, protect against loss of wage and increase their access to government benefits,” said Anshul Khurana, co-founder and CEO of Entitled Solutions.

Currently, the screening tool is being calibrated for better initial screening responses and the platform is aiming to target a wider population group through this initiative.

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