Friday, March 05, 2021


Himachal to be TB-free by 2023

YS RANA | February 05, 2021 04:05 PM

HAMIRPUR (HP): It has all the trappings of a paradox but not the one that defies an answer. Even as the Himachal government, a state know for its salubrious and balming environment conducive to all kinds of cure is marshalli9ng every resource at its command to take head-on the age old enemy of tuberculosis (TB) and set the target of eliminating TB 2023 while the Central Government has a target to eliminate it by 2025.

The world is aspiring to achieve ‘TB-free World’ by 2050. Though the fresh cases keep cropping up at a more-or-less matching pace yet the state has recorded over 87 per cent cure rate. Ironically, the detection rate and cure rate of Himachal Pradesh is above the desired national level.

It is recalled soldiers suffering from TB during the British Raj were sent especially to Dharampur (TB Sanatorium) in district Solan for treatment. The state has equipped itself with the latest tools provided by various national health programmes to beef up its healthcare system to address the gamut of TB and achieve the target. Application of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended Direct Observation of Treatment (DoT) has led to decline in the TB prevalence rate. The death rate of TB patients which was 26 per cent has now been reduced to less than four percent. The state government has also launched door-to-door screening in high risk TB area from January, 2017 that led the treatment success rate tripled from 25 per cent in pre-revised national tuberculosis control provramme (RNTCP)era to 82 per cent.

Official data confirms that Himachal has been adjudged among the top performing states in the country with over 87 per cent cure rate of new smear positive (NSP) patients. In fact, the hill state has been achieving this distinction since 2005. Hamirpur was the first district where the revised national TB control programme was implemented in 1995 followed by Kangra and Mandi districts.

Notably, the state has consistently achieved both detection and cure rates of TB as per the national targets, said an official of Health Department. The state has more than 244 suspect examined per lakh of population per quarter as compared to the national average of 160. Besides, the state government has built and operational zed 12 district TB units, 164 microscopy centres all over the state. The state government has also been providing financial booster doze for necessary additions and alterations for upgradation of IRLs at TBS Dharampur and Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Tanda.

The state provides healthcare services through its networking of over 3800 health institutions. Regarding monitoring it is being done and the default rate which was 30 per cent has come down to mere four per cent. Credit goes to government’s revised national TB control programme. The government has also chalked out ‘Stop TB’ strategy and developed it with some components of new diagnostic tools for early case detection. Concept of Universal Access efforts have been put in place to involve all the stake holders have been sensitized regarding the programme and availability of various revised new schemes.“So all the efforts are towards to ensure the transformation of these in eliminating TB by 2023, ” says the official.  

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