The state government on Friday announced the launch of a campaign to free Haryana of tuberculosis (TB).
The government will collaborate with Medanta-The Medicity for the ‘TB free Haryana’ campaign, which will be supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the brand ambassador of the campaign.
Coming together on a single platform, all stakeholders decided to provide support in different ways. The funding for the project will come from USAID.
“In India, two people die every three minutes due to TB. That is the highest rate of TB deaths in the world. We want to ensure that people do not die of a disease that is easily preventable and curable,” Richard R Verma, American Ambassador to India, who was present at the function, said.
The manpower and field staff for the execution of the project will be provided by the state government while Medanta-The Medicity will give technical assistance so that more cases can be diagnosed.
Speaking at the event, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said about two lakh suspected cases of TB were reported in the state every year, of which about 40,000 patients were diagnosed with TB. As many as 119 TB units, 260 microscopic centres and 8,245 Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) centres are functioning under the TB programme in Haryana.
Talking about his personal experience as a TB survivor in 2000, Amitab Bachchan said caste, religion or any belief system should not come in the way of health and medication.
As part of the campaign, Medanta hospital will conduct a survey in slums to identify TB patients. Health camps will be conducted in those areas and medicines will be distributed on the spot. Patients will be diagnosed with the help of portable digital chest X-ray machines installed in vans.
These vans will travel to various districts in three phases in the next five years to make Haryana free of TB. Two such vans were flagged off on Friday.
The districts to be covered in the first phase include Rewari, Gurgaon, Mewat, Palwal and Jhajjar. All 21 districts of Haryana will be covered in the three phases for which five such mobile vans will be rolled out.
“The government, its support staff of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers and the district TB officers are doing a good job of the treatment for TB. The treatment is simple and cost effective at `3,000 for the entire course. But diagnosis is a major problem and we intend to help with efficiently diagnosing all positive cases,” Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta- The Medicity, said.