Govt conducts first-ever community-based TB survey, 50,000 people studied
SRINAGAR: The J&K Health Department has concluded first-ever Tuberculosis prevalence survey in Kashmir covering nearly fifty thousand people of nearly 65 health blocks.
According to officials, the survey had been initiated to identify the prevalence of confirmed tuberculosis cases across the Valley.
The survey has been conducted in all major districts of Kashmir with a statistical representation of the division.
“Nearly fifty thousand people have been covered in the door-to-door survey conducted by epidemiologist, health officials, Asha workers and other volunteers, to identify those who show symptoms of tuberculosis through a questionnaire prepared by the State TB Cell,” they said.
He said the survey results would recognize ways to improve tuberculosis control and ultimately end the TB epidemic in J&K.
Director Health Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman told Kashmir Reader that Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also collaborated with the department to complete the survey and make it authentic.
“We have involved Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the International Union of Tuberculosis to conduct the Valley-wide survey to measure the presence of TB in the Valley population,” he said.
“It will also make the survey authentic and acceptable,” he said.
Recently, a two member team of National Tuberculosis Institute and Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC), ICMR, concluded its Kashmir visit. They evaluated the survey data and reviewed field activities by epidemiologists.
The health department has run Tuberculosis control program for long with a cure rate of 95 percent.
However, the department has not been able to decide the exact prevalence of the disease and its case reduction.
“The reason is the programme has used an obsolete survey by Government of India done in 1957 as reference study to treat and study TB patients across India,” officials told Kashmir Reader.
The fresh prevalence study has applied World Health Organisation guidelines to survey the selected areas and people. People suspected of having TB patients have been interviewed by way of a detailed questionnaire.
“Doctors have their sputum samples examined, and have the X-rays done. Following different tests, the result was recorded in the survey for final results,” said a Public Health Worker who was part of the survey.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has described drug resistant TB as a major global threat to the treatment of the lung disease, which spreads through coughs and sneezes. India is estimated to have the largest number of such drug-resistant TB cases after China.
In J&K, around 799 people have died of tuberculosis (TB) since 2014 – making it the biggest killer disease in the state.
According to the TB center officials, whooping cough for more than two weeks, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, chest pain etc can be considered as symptoms of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis can be latent or active and spread through the air when those with active TB infection cough, spit or sneeze.