More tuberculosis testing centres for district

COIMBATORE, MARCH 24. The Health Department has said it is totally focussed on tuberculosis control in the district and efforts towards control will be bolstered by four more Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCTC) to be established at Government hospitals.

Besides treatment, patients visiting these centres will be provided with counselling on management of tuberculosis.

The centres will come up at the Government Hospitals in Mettupalayam, Avanashi, Pollachi and Udumalpet, the Collector, S. Kosalaraman, told presspersons on Tuesday.

A committee had also been formed to implement the recently introduced HIV-TB Co-infection Programme.

With regard to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), the Deputy Director of Health Services (Tuberculosis), J. Arivoli, said the Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) was provided at Government and private hospitals and also primary health centres. Non-Governmental organisations were also actively involved.

90 per cent success

The district had recorded 84 per cent identification of tuberculosis patients and 90 per cent success in treating them. As for those discontinuing the DOTS, field officers traced them and put them back on treatment.

Nearly 40,000 people were tested at 45 designated centres last year. Totally, the Government had spent more than Rs.2 crores on drugs for 5,218 patients in the district.

The Dean of the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, T.P. Kalanidhi, said it was vital to persuade even a few patients to undergo the DOTS. A few untreated persons could spread the disease to at least 10 to 15 persons a year.

The Collector said about 200 members of self-help groups and as many counsellors from voluntary organisations had been trained in providing the DOTS. Sensitisation of the public was also done consistently through folk music, pamphlets and through public address system mounted on vehicles that covered both rural and urban areas.

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