Tuberculosis awareness programme gets boost

 The project, which will be undertaken in 16 districts - six in north and 10 in southern part of the State, will be enforced by Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) and Population Services International (PSI).

Both the organisations are the implementing agencies for The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), which is one of the principal recipients of the global fund.

Access to service

According to the Union, the programme aims at providing access to drug resistant tuberculosis control services and mobilising civil society like Self Help Groups, AYUSH doctors, etc, in supporting Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) and controlling tuberculosis.

 "Out of the total tuberculosis population in the world, 21 per cent of the cases are in India. Although, we have a good RNTCP  there are grey areas," said Subrat Mohanty of The Union.

He said the global fund programme is for five years. The grants would be given only for two years - April 2010 till March 2012. After that, the grants would be approved based on the recipients’ performance and achievement.

In total, the Union will cover 23 states and 374 districts, which were chosen based on 2008 data of low performing districts in tuberculosis control.

Poor performers

Health Secretary Dr E V Ramana Reddy, who inaugurated the launch event, requested The Union to even consider including Gulbarga and Bagalkot, which have been performing poorly, in the coverage area.

"We are reviewing the DOTS programme in the six northern districts separately, as they have been poor performers. However, whenever we have involved the community, it has always helped. So I am hopeful that these two agencies will do a lot in restricting the spread of tuberculosis," he said.

According to Dr Kumarswamy Lal, State Joint Director for tuberculosis control,  the government lacked infrastructure and did not have enough doctors at rural areas.
Hence, this initiative would certainly help the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, he added.

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