In a bid to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) from the state by 2025, the Punjab government on Friday launched a free X-ray service to diagnose suspected TB patients in all government hospitals in the state. The state government has in principle decided to provide nutritional supplements to patients of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB free from the state funds.
Disclosing this on Friday, Health and Family Welfare minister Brahm Mohindra said instructions have been issued to all civil surgeons to ensure free chest X-ray service to suspected TB patients. He said soon patients of MDR TB would be provided fortified nutritional supplements.
MDR and external data representation (XDR) patients shall also be eligible for getting benefits under Atta-Dal scheme of Punjab and be issued blue cards by the government, said the minister. He said the Punjab government has initiated the ‘Active Case Finding’ screening programme for earlier detection and treatment of confirmed patients.
Mohindra said the primary objective of ‘Active Case Finding’ screening programme is to identify undiagnosed TB cases in the vulnerable target population.
It has already covered that part of the population, which has not availed health care facilities with or without symptoms or signs of TB and in high risk areas through house visits.
Giving details about the number of confirmed TB patients under the active case finding screening programme, he said in Sangrur district, of the screened 2,35,929 people and 1,407 people examined for sputum, 35 patients were diagnosed with TB.
The health minister said in subsequent phases, screening programme has been conducted in Faridkot, Mansa, Fazilka, Rupnagar, Tarn Taran and Hoshiarpur in which 8,57,379 persons were screened for symptoms and sputum test was conducted on 5,585 persons and finally 212 patients diagnosed with TB. Mohindra said that it has been decided that now Active Case Finding (ACF) activities will also be conducted in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala in March 2018.
He said despite free treatment of TB at Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) centers, the Health Department has already launched the ‘New Daily Drug Regimen Programme’ in all districts of the state and as many as 2,572 TB patients have been covered under this ambitious programme so that the goal of TB elimination by 2025 can be achieved.