BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to detect and reach out to tuberculosis patients, a special programme was launched here on Saturday.
The programme ‘TB: Call to Action in Odisha’ aims at transforming the TB landscape in the State by improving access to high quality services and reducing suffering and deaths.
The project is being implemented by REACH, an organisation fighting against TB for the last 17 years. Since tuberculosis causes vast socio-economic losses, controlling the disease remains one of India’s biggest health challenges.
Stating that complete diagnosis, treatment for all TB patients and access to free services at their doorsteps are the need of the hour, Director of REACH Dr Nalini Krishnan said regular treatment with high quality drugs under DOTS can cure TB.
‘’Through our efforts, we seek to amplify and support the State’s response to TB by broadening the conversation around the disease and involving previously unengaged stakeholders, thereby raising the profile of TB at national and State levels,’’ Krishnan said.
With over 1,300 deaths per day, TB continues to be a grave public health crisis in the country. The TB patient population in Odisha is around one lakh of which 45,000 patients are on extended care while 55,000 cases remain undetected.
The State TB Cell, as part of the Central TB division’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), has been working with a three-point vision to control the disease which affects about 250 persons every year.
Specifically, the Odisha Government’s TB programme focuses on early detection among the vulnerable population of the State which requires a multi-sectoral approach to bring together various stakeholders and the Government to partner in the fight against the disease.
Dr Amar Shah of Project Management-USAID urged all stakeholders to play an important role in controlling the disease in the State.
Among others, Director of Health Services Dr Kailash Chandra Dash, Director of Public Health Dr Jnanindra Kumar Tripathy and State TB Officer Dr Sanjukta Sahoo also spoke.