The district health department has started a toll-free telephone helpline (1800116666) for tuberculosis patients in the district.
A unique feature of the service is the provision of a 'missed call' facility, which means the department would call back the caller within 48 hours to offer requisite services and information and, if need be, start treatment within the next 48 hours.
In case of an emergency, the patients will be referred to the civil hospital. District TB officer Dr Parveen Pal Jindal said here on Sunday that the government was already giving free treatment to TB patients.
He said if a person shows signs of loss of hunger and weight, persistent coughing lasting for over two weeks, blood in sputum and low temperature, he could be suffering from TB, which is spread through coughing and respiration.
Jindal said there was no need to panic, as TB is curable these days, provided it is detected at the early or initial stages. One can call on the toll-free helpline number from 8 am to 8 pm.