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Five Kashmir districts report zero TB cases: Survey

Post by M Peerzada on Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Srinagar, Jan 31: Five districts in Kashmir have reported zero Tuberculosis cases, as per a District Level Annual Survey conducted by National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP) Kashmir for the Sub National Certification.
The figures of the real-time survey, conducted last month (Dec 2022), revealed that 50 teams visited five districts—Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar.
The teams visited 50,105 households in five districts out of which 2,137 samples were tested on CBNAAT and TrueNAT and no case was diagnosed during the survey.
State TB Officer, Dr Adfar Qadri, said the real-time survey was conducted by visiting households in five districts and the results of samples were declared within 24 hours.
“The TB incidence is declining in Kashmir. We will achieve TB elimination by 2025. We are doing intensified and active case finding and case screening,” she said.
Last year Anantnag, Pulwama and Kupwara got Gold during Sub National Certification for TB Elimination in the country. Notably, Baramulla district had then got Bronze medal (1 in 56 districts).
The TB officer said there are four categories of recognition in achievement of reduction of case targets, the top spot being TB-free status meaning 80% reduction.
The other categories include Gold Medal category (over 60% reduction), Silver Medal category (over 40% reduction) and Bronze Medal category (over 20% reduction).
The highly infectious disease continues to remain one of the major health concerns in the valley. However, over the years cases have declined.
Dr Adfar said the directorate has started treatment of Latent TB Infection and they are working to identify contacts of infected patients. “We are providing preventive treatment to contacts that can further limit the spread of disease,” she said.
She said they had taken several measures over the years to develop infrastructure and employ manpower for the early detection and effective treatment of the disease.
Notably, in March 2021, Budgam district in central Kashmir became the first district in India which was then declared tuberculosis free as the district had seen more than 80% reduction in TB incidence from baseline of 2015.
The sub-national certification is a process introduced by the Union Health Ministry in 2021 to reward well-performing States/districts when they achieve specific milestones in TB elimination.
The Health Ministry has set target of reducing incidence of new TB cases by 80% to end TB by 2025 while efforts towards TB elimination vary across States/Districts.
In India, the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) provides free TB treatment at all govt. medical facilities through Directly Observed Treatment Short course Strategy (DOTS) system, recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Under this system, a patient is given an identification card that tracks their site of infection, severity and treatment course and adding them to a national database.

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