Awareness campaign on TB sees positive impact in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: A unique mass campaign to spread awareness on Tuberculosis by utilising the reach of Hyderabad Metro among the urban population, launched this August, has triggered a positive impact on the rate of TB notifications in Hyderabad district.

Ensuring TB cases at private health care facilities are notified to authorities has been a challenge for a long time. Quite often, patients who undergo treatment at private health care facilities fail to recover, leading to drug resistant TB, which is even more difficult to treat.

To improve TB notifications in Hyderabad and surrounding districts and also collect sputum samples from patients who undergo treatment at private facilities, the TB authorities in collaboration with Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited, TB Alert India Trust and Jenssen Pharmaceutical Companies, had launched a mass awareness campaign in metro rail.

Since this August, authorities have been airing 30 second video snippets related to TB in all the digital screens that are available with the metro rail. The snippets are being aired in 45 trains of metro rails throughout the day.

Estimates from State TB authorities have indicated that the campaign has led to an 8 per cent increase in the TB notifications in Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Medchal districts. The 104 TB helpline number, which was broadcasted in the video snippets, has been receiving significant number of enquiries, authorities said.

Sputum collection

The State TB health care facilities are offering free Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) tests that could detect TB in just 2 hours. However, due to difficulty in transporting sputum samples to government facilities, private doctors usually avoid prescribing the test to patients. To address the logistical difficulties, the State TB authorities in collaboration with TB Alert India and Jenssen, Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson launched Sputum Collection and Transportation (SCT) initiative.

Launched in June, the SCT model is being implemented in Nizamabad, Warangal urban, Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Khammam. Within first three months of the launch, the authorities successfully mapped 175 private medical facilities, collected and transported 977 private sputum samples to the nearest CBNAAT laboratory free of cost and delivered back 871 reports to the respective private physicians within two days.

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