KERALA

Stress on early detection of tuberculosis

KOCHI, MARCH 24. Dispelling myths regarding tuberculosis, creating awareness aimed at increasing case detection and the availability of free treatment were stressed during the various programmes held in the district on World TB Day. on Thursday.

Emphasising on the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) as the method for curing TB, the theme this year honoured the DOTS provider with the slogan `Frontline TB care providers, heroes in the fight against TB.'

DOTS provider is a person who provides medicine to the tuberculosis patient every day on time.

The District Tuberculosis Centre has detected and treated 11,965 cases from June 2000 to December 2004 since the launch of the Renewed National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).

Low detection rate

However, the detection of TB is only 40 per cent, said Vinod Paulose, medical officer at the Karuvelipady TB Hospital.

Of the total number of TB cases, 4,977 were found to be sputum positive, which means that these patients were capable of transmitting the disease to others.

While TB bacteria can infect any part of the body, 80 per cent of the cases are lung or pulmonary TB, and 50 per cent of these patients are likely to be sputum positive.

Each sputum positive person can infect at least 10-11 people a year.

Prevalence of TB in the southern zone is said to be 1.5, according to the National TB Institute, which means that in every one-lakh population in a year, there will be 75 new smear cases.

With private hospitals joining in detecting TB, the number of patients is likely to go up. According to Dr. Paulose, the cure rate in the district has been 90 per cent.

V.K. Ibrahim Kunju, Minister for Industry, inaugurated a public meeting today at Fort Kochi on the occasion.

Rally

Earlier, Corporation councillors led a rally in which cured TB patients and DOTS providers also participated.

Dr. Paulose held a class on tuberculosis.

K. Abdul Gaffor inaugurated the district-level programme at Nayarambalam.

M.A. Kuttappan, MLA, held an awareness class on TB.

The District TB Officer, N. Sreedhar Kumar, spoke on the occasion.

Film actors Siddique and Kaviyoor Ponnamma also participated in the function as ambassadors to spread the message of curing TB.

TB ward inaugurated

The Cooperative Medical College formally inaugurated the 20-bed TB ward at the hospital in Kalamassery.

Treatment for TB will be free at the hospital, said Indira Murali, the Principal-in-charge. The RNTCP unit at CMC was inaugurated by K. Muhammed Ali, MLA, and the TB ward by N.K. Pavithran, Kalamassery Municipal Chairman.

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